Montreal to open new temporary emergency shelter in Verdun Dec. 1
Posted November 30, 2023 12:37 pm.
Last Updated November 30, 2023 6:42 pm.
After the closure of the homeless shelter at Complexe Guy Favreau in Montreal’s Chinatown, the city is opening an emergency shelter in Verdun.
“There’s more needs in terms of homelessness people in Quebec, in Montreal, and that includes Verdun,” said Josefina Blanco, Montreal city councillor and Executive Committee member responsible for homelessness.
“Collectively we were conscious that there’s big needs, important needs in terms of shelters, in terms of homelessness people, so it was important to us to offer this site.”
The Jardins Gordon was previously a seniors residence that was purchased by the city and will open Dec. 1 to serve up to 50 people – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It’s really a need over here and even the citizens see that the number of homeless people can increase more and more every season,” said Céline-Audrey Beauregard, city of Montreal borough councillor for Verdun.
The temporary shelter is scheduled to remain open until June 30.
It will offer rooms with four beds and shared bathrooms. Couples and women will be designated to one area and men will stay in another part of the building.
“It was a place that was already ready, it was heated, so as a society, how can we say, let this place empty while there’s people, local people outside without having a roof under their head?” added Blanco.
Responding to concerns from people who live in the area, Verdun borough councillor Beauregard says that there have been consultations with those living nearby and that two people have been hired to monitor the area 10 hours a day – and that other measures have been taken to integrate the homeless community into the neighbourhood.
“We remind people that there might happen some stuff but they need to inform either the police or any services,” said Beauregard, adding, “our services are going to come and clean the area more often than before.”
“It’s nice that people have a place to stay. And definitely in winter here, it’s really bad weather. So it’s good,” said Nicol, a Verdun resident.
“I have strong worries about the location of the place, especially because there is, at 200 meters, a children’s playground,” explained Jeremie Girard who lives not far from the emergency homeless shelter.
“Given the housing crisis and the number of unhoused people in the city, I think we have an ethical obligation as a community to provide safe, warm, secure living environments for those who can’t access them,” said Cynthia Hammond, another Verdun resident.