Indigenous homelessness | A “humanitarian crisis” in Milton-Parc, according to Montreal ombudsman

Indigenous homelessness in the Milton-Parc neighborhood represents a real “humanitarian crisis at the heart of the metropolis” that will require the City of Montreal and its health network to act quickly, says a Montreal ombudsman report released Wednesday morning.

Posted at 8:09
Updated at 6:49 PM

Isabelle Ducas

Isabelle Ducas
The press

The report, titled don’t look awaymakes several comments about the suffering experienced by the homeless population who frequents this sector of the Plateau-Mont-Royal, and the problems of cohabitation with the citizens who live there.

Nadine Mailloux, the ombudsman, makes five recommendations, including the establishment, from 2022, of a “stable and secure emergency shelter that meets the needs of the Inuit population”.

She also deplores the glaring lack of consultation and cooperation between the various organizations and authorities working with homeless Aboriginal people in Montreal, who often “shift the buck”.

“It’s important to talk,” the report says. It is fundamental not to manage this situation with simple checkboxes in a plan. We must act with premeditation and ensure that the planned actions deliver concrete results, that entities are accountable in all directions for the responsibilities that rest on them and that this responsibility is measured not by isolated tasks, but rather by decisive impacts on the terrain. †

Among other recommendations:

  • Create community reception and support programs for Inuit people arriving in the metropolis;
  • Reviewing the funding methodology for civil society organizations to enable them to provide ongoing services;
  • Involve citizens in the search for solutions related to security and management of homelessness in the sector;
  • Promote the establishment of housing resources for the homeless.

mme Mailloux points out that she has followed the process of enacting winter measures for the homeless, which was put in place at the last minute, with a blatant lack of planning on the part of the city.

Complaints from a group of citizens

The report follows complaints from a group of citizens living near avenue du Parc and rue Milton, denouncing the deterioration, unsanitary conditions and dangerousness of this neighborhood, because the homeless who live there do not receive the necessary services. .

The representative of the complainant group states that the alley in the heart of the neighborhood is unsafe. This alley is regularly the scene of drug trafficking and prostitution. Several testify that they have seen attacks there.

Excerpt from the Montreal Ombudsman’s report

“It’s normal to have homeless people in the city, but it’s different when you have 200 drunk people screaming in the street,” complains Michael Ghannoum, who represents the Milton-Parc Association of Tradespeople and Merchants.

According to him, the ombudsman’s report does not go far enough: he believes that the city should set up a “one-stop-shop”, where homeless people can receive various services and enjoy personal support, as well as a shelter where the alcohol consumption is reduced. allowed (wet shelter

major irritation

After reading the report, Sienna Francœur, member of the Milton-Parc Citizens’ Committee, also denounced the fact that a major irritation was not addressed: the presence of a metal fence on a vacant lot, the intersection of rue Milton and avenue du Parc, pushing homeless people onto the street and causing accidents.


PHOTOGRAPH DOMINICK GRAVEL, THE PRESS

Detached plot at the intersection of rue Milton and avenue du Parc

“It’s an immediate danger,” she said. People end up on the streets because there is no space on the sidewalks. †

The committee where Mr.me Francœur is campaigning to channel some of the police budget to community organizations that provide social housing and workers trained to work with the homeless.

“We don’t want more police around,” she said.

Martine Michaud, representative of the Milton-Parc Residents’ Collective, which is at the root of the complaints to the ombudsman, says she is reasonably satisfied with the report. “It remains to be hoped that the City of Montreal will take its responsibilities,” she said, denouncing the lack of listening from municipal authorities.

When asked on the subject on the sidelines of a press conference, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante replied that she accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations and that she intended to request Quebec to obtain the necessary funding.

“It remains the responsibility of the Quebec government,” the mayor recalled.

More information user manual

  • 12%
    Share of Indigenous People among Homeless People in 2018 Census

    SOURCE: CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

  • 4
    Number of accidents involving a pedestrian, including one fatally and one with serious injuries, in 2020 on the avenue du Parc near rue Milton, according to the SPVM

    SOURCE: Montreal Ombudsman

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