May 30, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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Camp under Ville-Marie Highway | Quebec will find homes for the homeless

In downtown Montreal, about fifteen homeless people encamped under the Ville-Marie highway and threatened with eviction will be taken care of by the Quebec government.

Without a home to stay The Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ), which had planned to begin work later this month at the site of the camp near Atwater Avenue, contested in court an eviction notice sent to them in early March.

On Wednesday morning, before a judge heard their request for an injunction in a Montreal court, an agreement was reached between their lawyers and the Quebec government in which officials agreed to hold “discovery” discussions with various partners. , solutions for housing homeless people currently living in camps, while respecting the needs and rights of these individuals.

“It’s not a question of housing them in emergency shelters, but finding housing solutions that meet each of their needs,” explains Ms.e Donald Tremblay, executive director of the Mobile Legal Clinic, is acting as a representative of the managers.

Photo by Patrick Sanfacon, The Press

Me Donald Tremblay (with hat)

He adds that some people with mental health problems will need support to settle and maintain housing.

“We’re not talking about dogs and cats. They’re human beings. We’re in Quebec in 2023, but they’re treated as less than anything, protesting Me Trembling It is unacceptable for the government to do nothing even after months of this. Today, we have an obligation to act with respect for their human dignity, which is extraordinary. »

Photo by Patrick Sanfacon, The Press

Michael Chabot, one of the campers

Michael Chabot, 58, one of the campers who has been living under the highway for months, appeared in court. He says he hopes the deal will get him houses.

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“I don’t ask for much, just one and a half, and I’ll be happy,” he says. He is suffering from cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

“I will not have much time, and one of my fears is that my remains will be found in my tent eaten by rats. »

Photo by Patrick Sanfacon, The Press

David Chapman

“This agreement is a small step towards recognizing human rights and the value of human life,” rejoices David Chapman, executive director of the Resilience Montreal organization, which supports the crew in the camp by providing them with especially hot meals.

Donald Tremblay hopes the situation will advance the government’s thinking on the issue of home ownership, beyond efforts to find housing for the homeless in the camp.