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Longueuil mayor hopes moving homeless shelter will encourage encampment to leave area near school

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Longueuil's mayor said she hopes to find a solution to the tent city that popped up near a school last year.

The encampment on Bourassa Street is near the Halte du Coin homeless shelter, which does not have enough space to take in the overflow. 

More than 30 tents are in the area, close to a playground and an elementary school.

Parents have complained about violence, drugs and nudity their kids have witnessed.

Longueuil Mayor Catherine Fournier announced Monday a plan she hopes will mitigate the issue.

"We [will] provide a municipal building in order to relocate the shelter," she said.

In July, the shelter will be moved to another building on the corner of Cure-Poirier Blvd. and Chambly Street.

The closest school is a 10-minute walk away, the mayor said.

"And so that's the main reason that we chose this site. It's because it's quite far off [from] the schools," she said.

The current shelter will be demolished to make way for social housing.

The city hopes once the shelter moves, the campers will follow.

"Hopefully, the encampment will move and we will act with, for example, the police in order to ensure that the situation is going well in the neighbourhood here," said Fournier.


The new shelter, though, will have the same capacity as the old one.

Patrick Dupuis, who works with people living on the street through the organization Resiste a la rue, said the number of campers keeps growing, and he doubts many will want to move.

"I don't think tents are the solution, but we have nothing better to offer," he said.

Sebastian Dufort, who has been living in the encampment for nearly five months, said he is planning to stay put.Meantime, Sebastian Dufort, who has been living in the encampment for nearly five months, said he is planning to stay put.

"I think my place is good here. I don't bother anyone and keep to myself," he said. "Apartments are too expensive and I can no longer afford one."

So far, it's unclear how many others will decide to stay. 

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