Roaming: Valerie Plant raises hopes

Photo: Pedro Ruiz The Duty
France Labelle account on the new municipal administration to take forward the social housing and the fight against the profiling social.

With a new administration in the orders of the city, “there is hope,” said France Labelle, director general of the Refuge des jeunes de Montréal. Appointed member of the Order of Canada — the highest honour in the country — this Friday, she looks back on 30 years of policy in roaming.


Difficult to assess with accuracy the face a quicksand of homelessness, believes that who also chairs the Network of help for single people and the homeless in Montréal (RAPSIM). Visible and localized at the time of the punks in the city centre, it is today more diffuse and concealed in the Centre-Sud, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Pierrefonds, in the South-West or Montréal-Nord.


“If statistically young people accommodated are not necessarily more numerous, those in a precarious situation. Their mode of survival has led them to be more shifting. They are more homeless than homeless, ” said France Labelle.


And those who seek refuge are also changing, as the population of montreal : more young people with immigrant background (20 %, born here or abroad) are among the approximately 600 men from 18 to 25 years, hosted each year by the organization.


The substances consumed on the street have also evolved, the increased presence of synthetic drugs causing more toxic psychoses.


If the scientific data are lacking, one constant remains : “the overwhelming majority of young people accommodated is in great distress,” concludes France Labelle.


For that reason a number of organizations criticize sharply the year of the enumeration conducted by the City of Montreal in march 2015, which had found the presence of 3016 persons in a situation of homelessness in the city.


“It is undervalued, reiterated Ms. Labelle. A snapshot of accommodations on any given night, it is an indicator incomplete, not a global picture. “


A conclusion pernicious, according to it, since it should serve as a benchmark for determining the services to be funded. “This figure, it is the tip of the iceberg, or so it believes. It does not consider the people who do not sleep in shelters. Or which in any case does not sleep that night. “


The next census (see box) will be under the leadership of projet Montréal. France Labelle is waiting with benevolence the arrival of Valérie Plant. “We are dealing with a team progressive, with an ambitious project in the field of housing and social profiling social. The hope that these concerns are translated into actions is allowed. “


Without falling into determinism, it nevertheless notes that, while ” poverty does not always lead to homelessness, homelessness is always a matter of poverty. There was no correlation with absolute, but when you look upstream, there is a crack somewhere, a mesh of the social safety net that has jumped “.


She sees education, access to employment —” with real incentives, not six months under duress ” —, to social housing and affordable housing as priorities. “We can never say it enough : the urgency is much more expensive than prevention. “


To look 30 years back, France Labelle concludes that it is in terms of the fight against poverty that the shoe pinches the most. It is also the hope of a commitment on the part of the administration’s Plant.


It does not change a life, but…


“For his dedication to the defence of the rights of the most deprived and the fight against poverty and homelessness,” says the official website of the governor general of Canada, France Labelle has joined the Order of Canada.


“In 30 years, I’ve worn all the hats : mother Teresa, emmerdeuse, empêcheuse around in circles… I get this medal as a recognition to have bothered you. I have not worked alone, I did not invented anything, many of us work in contrary winds.


“I speak with and for those who do not have a voice in the chapter. And I’m not finished. This may not be a good news for everyone ! “

The enumeration of the homeless in 2018

Last September, the City of Montreal announced by way of press release the holding of a census in 2018. A decision that coincides with [that] of the government of Quebec to participate in the point count, coordinated by the federal government as part of its partnership Strategy to fight against homelessness. More than sixty locations in canada have shown their interest to conduct a point count in 2018 and, in Québec, the ministry of Health and social Services seeks a head count in more than a dozen localities. “

Source : City of Montreal

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