Will Montreal’s homeless count help its unhoused population? Advocates are divided


For the primary time since 2018, swaths of volunteers will likely be fanning out throughout Montreal beginning Tuesday night time to count, survey and accumulate knowledge on the individuals experiencing homelessness within the metropolis. 

Designed as a instrument to help doc homelessness, the survey has misplaced the help of 1 group, which says it is not going to be taking part this yr and describes the count as thoughtless and inaccurate. Resilience Montreal says the count might have extra unfavourable results than good.

“There aren’t any homeless that I do know of that are trying ahead to being counted,” stated David Chapman, the manager director of Resilience, in an interview on CBC’s Daybreak

“They do not discover it to be essentially the most humanizing factor … and it is not one thing that reassures them.” 

David Chapman, the manager director of Resilience Montreal, says his group is not going to be taking part on this yr’s head count of the town’s homeless inhabitants. (Dave St-Amant/CBC News)

For a number of days, greater than 1,000 volunteers will likely be out counting and talking with all those that are “visibly” homeless in locations like streets, parks, alleys and Metro stations throughout the town’s 19 boroughs.

The metropolis’s third version of the point-in-time head count is meant to supply an estimate of the variety of those that are unhoused. A questionnaire will even present intuition into who they are and what providers they want.

Facilities like Montreal’s emergency shelters and transitional housing applications will even accumulate and submit the identical knowledge within the coming days. 

Chapman says the numbers from these counts are “nowhere close to correct” as they do not account for “hidden homelessness” — resembling individuals who are sofa browsing or dwelling in unsuitable housing.

Additionally, he questioned whether or not extra complicated points — resembling what he describes as the necessity for an Indigenous-led night time shelter in Cabot Square — would register on the accompanying questionnaire. 

Chapman says the information collected can also have harmful results on essentially the most marginalized teams by creating competitions for funding. He says it is essential to be cautious about the place the count is coming from and whom it’s serving. 

“A count like that is actually pushed … by approaches that want to have the ability to use these types of numbers to display the validity and significance of a specific strategy.”

Shelter says knowledge can help enhance providers

Caroline Dusablon, who oversees city partnerships for the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, says all of the volunteers who will likely be heading out as of 6 p.m. have been educated on the way to strategy individuals experiencing homelessness with respect.

She says the coaching additionally targeted on the realities of Indigenous individuals and members of the LGBTQ neighborhood who are dealing with homelessness — teams that had been disproportionately represented amongst Montreal’s homeless inhabitants in 2018. 

This is the primary census of homelessness because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic and it additionally comes amid a worsening housing disaster.

Some advocates for these experiencing homeless are predicting the variety of unhoused individuals will go up this yr in comparison with 2018, which noticed a complete of three,149 individuals.

Marie-Pier Therrien, a consultant for the Old Brewery Mission shelter, says the pandemic led to a rise in homelessness in Montreal and a few of the sources that opened final winter are nonetheless working at full capability. 

Therrien says knowledge from the count can enhance the staff’s decision-making when asking for funding and creating new applications and providers. 

“If we’re in a position to establish the chance issue forward and the kind of scenario the place we will intervene sooner, that is the most effective consequence we will want for,” stated Therrien. 

Sam Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission, says he hopes discovering out simply how a lot Montreal’s homelessness drawback has grown will help governments make it extra of a precedence. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Sam Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission, says it is one factor to gather this knowledge on homelessness — it is one other to behave on it. 

Watts hopes discovering out simply how a lot Montreal’s homelessness drawback has grown will help governments make it extra of a precedence.

“What we wish to have occur is the entire of presidency to determine we actually must do one thing about this and so it should take that type of effort and that type of power to really arrive at an answer.”

A complete of 13 areas throughout Quebec will likely be taking part on this yr’s homeless count.


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