Open Door shelter relocating to Plateau
After 30 years, the Open Door homeless shelter is moving from Westmount to the Plateau.
The shelter was forced to relocate after a developer purchased the church that it was operating out of.
Its new home is at the Notre Dame de la Salette Church on Park Avenue.
David Chapman, the shelter’s acting director, had wanted its new location to be within walking distance of its previous address.
“The notion of ‘not in my backyard’ is unfortunately something I'm very familiar with,” he said. “That's been my experience of the last year and a half as I've asked building owner after building owner.”
Despite the Open Door’s benevolent intentions, its relocation has caused some controversy in its new borough.
At a meeting on Tuesday, Plateau residents voiced their concerns over the homeless population migrating to the area.
Around 40 business owners presented a petition against the shelter’s relocation.
The borough council, however, said nothing could be done as it was a private agreement negotiated between the church and the Open Door.
Several members of the community have spoken out in favour of the shelter as well.
“We're working with survivors of residential schools, sometimes first generation survivors, sometimes second generation survivors,” Chapman said. “There is a place for taking some collective responsibility for the sins of our ancestors.”
After renovations are completed, the basement of the church will have showers, a kitchen, and even a carving room for the shelter’s Inuit clientele.