MONTREAL -- After many hours spent organizing and preparing, Tuesday marked the first night the warming tent in Cabot Square was open.

The tent provides a warm place with food and drink for the homeless between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

It is also staffed by social workers like Jenny Hervieux, who says on the first night some people stayed the night while others had something to eat and left.

“With the death of Raphael Andre, it was a definite emergency that we needed to do something,” said Native Women's Shelter of Montreal Executive Director Nakuset, referring to the Innu man who froze to death in January. 

Andre’s body was found in a public toilet near a shelter last month and the tent is named in his honour.

The City of Montreal provided the tent, but only for two weeks. The city says it will look for more sustainable options.

Advocates hope the tent can remain in place for much longer.

“The counter-argument is you’re going to draw people away from other homeless resources in the city, that’s certainly not what we’re trying to do,” said David Chapman from the Resilience Montreal shelter. “We’re not serving 300 people in here, we’re serving 16.”