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Montreal West Island shelter must move this week

Article and image from CTV News Montreal. Read the article online.

Dozens of people in Montreal's West Island are wondering where they'll be sleeping come Friday.

Two months ago, the Ricochet shelter found out it has to move out of its building by the end of May.

The shelter for people experiencing homelessness has a new location to move to, but it isn’t scheduled to be ready for occupancy until January 2025.

That means 50 people are looking for a place to live.

"We're all nervous. We are looking for a place to stay, to sleep and wash and have supper," said like Marie-France Dubuc, who has relied on Ricochet for two years, since she has no permanent housing.

Ricochet moved into the building at 5100 Château-Pierrefonds Ave., on loan by the local health board (CIUSSS), in 2020.

It was always a temporary arrangement.

Now, after four extensions, the CIUSSS said it needs the building back by May 31.

"We're all nervous. We're all nervous about what's going on," said Dubuc.

Ricochet is stuck between municipal, provincial and health services, explained executive director Tania Charron.

"Despite the goodwill of all stakeholders, it's my duty to denounce how this system has failed in its response to the most vulnerable people," she said. "As an organization, I must say that it's extremely difficult to navigate a system where each structures have its own responsibilities, where the communication is broken, and where each structure blames the other for the failure."

Since finding out about the move, Charron has spent the past two months scrambling to find spaces at other shelters.

Benoit Langevin from opposition party Ensemble Montréal says empty city-owned buildings like "Solitude Notre-Dame" near Cap Saint-Jacques should be used.

"Social housing is the answer. If 50 per cent of homelessness is eviction related, we need to have a short-term answer right now," he said.

That won't happen soon enough for the 50 people at Ricochet, who are each getting a survival kit, including a sleeping bag and tent.

Charron says urban camping is not what they had hoped for and, "we're not encouraging anyone. we're just making sure they survive."

CTV News reached out to the City of Montreal, but did not receive a response.

The Ricochet shuttle will continue to bring vulnerable people to any available spaces found.

"All that we want to do is to give a response to the most vulnerable people. Feed them, give them a safe environment to sleep -- you know, the bare minimum," said Charron

Dubuc hoped for the same.

"To help me to find a way to get security bed food, shower, that's it," said Dubuc.


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