Why vaccine passports could pose problems for homeless living on Montreal's streets
MONTREAL -- Implementing vaccine passports in Quebec could pose major issues for members of the province's homeless community, according to the head of a major Montreal homeless shelter.
“Those who have gotten two shots will get their passports and will be able to access both essential and non-essential services, just like everyone else who's vaccinated. But just like the rest of the population, there are many who were not vaccinated at all or not vaccinated twice and who won't be getting the passport,” Old Brewery Mission president and CEO James Hughes told CTV News. “At the same time, this is the same group we need to continue to help to get housing. And in the list of services that are deemed essential, we couldn't find housing... so we think it's really important that when the list (of services available to those who are fully vaccinated) that housing is included on the list to ensure that housing continues to be a right and people have access to it, whether they have the passport or not.”
According to Hughes, the vaccination program for the homeless has been largely successful, with many members of the population having received two doses of the vaccine. As a result, the mission's isolation facilities for COVID-positive homeless people is currently empty.
“Vaccination has worked amazingly for the population. Now, we're starting, all of us, to turn to what's next.”
With the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant, Hughes said the mission's focus is on continuing to put in place best practices such as mask wearing and regular hand washing. But for those who don't come to shelters, he called on Montrealers to be “generous and gentle.”
“We have to make sure, in particular, that when the passport comes out, people who are sleeping in a park or bus station or metro station won't be asked for the passport to stay there. I think that's a big danger and that it never happens.”