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Montreal's Village organization hoping for LGBTQ2S+ community complex

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It's a dream that has been in the making for over 40 years for those who live in Montreal's Village: a complex that brings community organizations, LGBTQ2S+ people and locals together under one roof.

Espace LGBTQ+ was able to buy a large empty commercial building on Ste. Catherine Street East last fall with help from the City of Montreal, provincial grants and private donors.

"The LGBTQ complex that we want to have and share is made in bonding with different organizations and thinking, intersectionality, thinking of the different needs in the community and the village," said Espace LGBTQ+ vice-president Desiree Duchesne.

The space is in need of a lot of love and money, however.

"One of the major things why we are asking money for is to be able to have an elevator and toilets that are accessible, and having that for the community, not just a part of it, but also everyone," said Duchesne.

The group applied for funding from the Federal Infrastructure Ministry in February of 2023, and is hoping for $7 million to rennovate the 2,000-square-metre building.

While the project is currently in its initial phase, it's already resonating with some community members.

"There's a lot of restaurants and bars around, so it would be a good change, and I think it's a good place where people could get together," said Joseph Suarez, who works in the Village.

"I feel like right now there's a lot of problems of gentrification and also solitude and I think this could solve, well help at least, fight against those problems," said Village resident Rich Ly.

Espace LGBTQ+ is also backed by its partners.

Pride Montreal executive director Simon Gamache said the complex would also help community groups financially.

"We need those dedicated buildings for community organizations with adequate rents," he said. "And this what this is something that could be achieved in that building."

CTV News reached out to the Canad Infrastructure Ministry for comment but did not receive a response.

Espace LGBTQ+ does not know if it will get the funding but is working hard to make the space a reality.

"We cannot give up that dream," said Espace LGBTQ+ strategic consultant Kenny Bolduc. "We won't, and we need money to achieve that dream fully, and this program is made for that." 

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