Drawing the portrait of homelessness in Montreal, neighborhood by neighborhood
Next Tuesday, dozens of volunteers will crisscross the province to meet the homeless population. The goal: to paint a unique portrait of each neighborhood, especially in Montreal, where the phenomenon is constantly evolving.
In interview with Subwaymedia relations advisor for the Integrated University Health and Social Services Center (CIUSSS) of Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, Danny Raymond, explains the importance of this large-scale data collection national which will take place on October 11.
“The goal of the exercise is to understand how homelessness has evolved in Quebec. The data collected on the evening of October 11 will be validated by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) to determine trends in homelessness over the past few years, in order to better equip the government in how to respond effectively. to this social issue.
Mr. Raymond also insists on the rigor of the training process for the volunteers who will participate in the data collection. “All volunteers are trained by the Red Cross following a strict protocol. There is a real challenge not to hit this vulnerable population. You have to show a high level of listening while showing sensitivity.”
Qualifying and quantifying homelessness
Danny Raymond specifies that there has been a marked evolution of homelessness lately, noting that the phenomenon has spread to new places in the metropolis.
Every Montrealer notices this trend. It’s less circumscribed in distinct neighborhoods and it’s starting to expand in places. This « new roaming » has prompted us to want to paint a portrait by neighborhood that is as representative as possible.
Danny Raymond, media relations advisor for the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
In this context, the media relations advisor reveals that the October 11 exercise is the third of its kind to better understand the evolution of homelessness in Montreal and Quebec. The last two data collections took place in 2015 and 2018.
“There would have been an exercise in 2021, but the pandemic has dampened our momentum. We want to carry out the exercise at regular intervals to have the most accurate portrait possible of homelessness over time. We want to know if there have been variations in homelessness in Montreal and elsewhere to see an evolution, new trends or old issues that resurface,” says Mr. Raymond.
For example, the figures obtained in 2018 made it possible to understand that the number of homeless people had increased substantially and that they were not inclined to go to shelters due to a lack of places and care. This had encouraged elected government officials to create a temporary refuge at the former Royal-Victoria hospital to accommodate them during the winter of 2019.
The adviser adds that the 2018 data made it clear that the services were no longer aligned with the needs, thus mentioning the new services offered to women and Indigenous people experiencing homelessness since.
The count will begin at 6 p.m. on October 11, after a rally at the Downtown Montreal YMCA. Teams of volunteers will then be assigned to different neighborhoods to meet homeless people, forms in hand. The important thing for Danny Raymond is cooperation with homeless people and avoiding stigmatizing them.
“You have to get in touch with this population without despising or frustrating them. The first contact can be difficult, and they are free not to answer the questionnaire if they don’t feel like it. However, we want homeless people to participate because it is vital to the success of our study,” he says.