MONTREAL -- Montreal is opening new overflow shelters to help the city’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new temporary shelter opens Tuesday at Bonsecours Market in Old Montreal and can accommodate 50 men, said Mayor Valerie Plante in a news conference accompanied by Samuel Watts, director-general and president of the Welcome Hall Mission.

The Jean-Claude-Malépart Centre in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve will also open as a shelter later this week, offering 60 places for men and women.

Another 100 beds will open up at the former Royal Victoria Hospital at the beginning of newt week. It will serve the most vulnerable homeless population, including the elderly, as well as homeless people awaiting COVID-19 test results and those who are diagnosed with the virus.

The additional beds come in addition to the site announced last week Guy-Favreau Complexe for men and the Downtown YMCA for women.

A total of 350 new spots are an addition to the regular shelters in the city.

Three new outdoor day centres are opening to the homeless population Tuesday at Place du Canada, Jeanne-Mance Park and near the Francis-Bouillon Arena. These new sites are in addition to two other sites that recently opened at Cabot Square and Place Émilie-Gamelin.

The city also said it has set up 24 sanitation huts, mostly in the downtown area, to give homeless people access to toilets and running water.

More details here.

“We are definitely devoted to leaving nobody behind,” said Plante.

A meals-on-wheels project will also begin on Tuesday to distribute food to the homeless community.

Plante said the city was able to obtain protective and sanitary gear to help protect workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Watts thanked those working with the homeless community for their dedication.

“We have been so impressed by the positive attitude and the way you show up in the crisis that we’re facing,” he said.

He also said he hopes this crisis helps build a new vision for the city.

“Once the crisis goes away, and I hope that it’s soon, I see a city where each individual can get affordable housing, healthy food and a community experience,” he said. “I think this is something that’s entirely possible and I think it’s a vision that a lot of us share.”