NW Week

Thursday, February 22, 2024

On Sunday, the Raphael André tent in Cabot Square will close

Cabot Square's Raphael André tent will close on Sunday.

Key takeaways:

  • Cabot Square has long been a gathering place for the homeless, so the news that an emergency tent to assist the nightly population will be demolished starting Sunday is disappointing.
  • PAQ is a non-profit organization that assists homeless Indigenous people. According to Chapman, it has about 50 beds, but there is a problem.

Cabot Square has long been a gathering spot for the homeless, so the news that an emergency tent to help the nightly population will be destroyed beginning Sunday is a disappointment.

“One of the key questions is where will the individuals currently using the services go?” According to David Chapman, one of the organizations assisting is Resilience Montreal’s executive director.

The tent is an effort spearheaded by Indigenous peoples. Raphal Napa André, an Innu man who lived on the street, died one chilly night in a temporary toilet just meters from a homeless shelter. It was opened as a warming center a little over a year ago.

Every day, hundreds of people were served at the tent.

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“Every night, they normally prepare at least 200, sometimes 300 dinners,” Chapman said.

There were also sleeping arrangements for over 20 persons.

When asked about the closure, Ian Lafrenière, the provincial minister for Indigenous affairs, assured us that people will have options after the tent is destroyed.

“Right now, there are many options,” he told Global News. “As you know, PAQ (Projects Autochtones du Québec) is already operational. PAQ was where I was around a month ago.”

PAQ is a non-profit organization that helps Indigenous people who are homeless. According to Chapman, it contains roughly 50 beds, but there is an issue.

He said, “Are there any beds or eating facilities in the area where the folks are?”

People who visit Cabot Square, according to Chapman, will not go three kilometers to PAQ. He also disagreed with Lafrenière’s assertion that the tent project’s patrons will have various options.

Cabot Square's Raphael André tent will close on Sunday.
Cabot Square’s Raphael André tent will close on Sunday. Image from CBC News

He and others argue that the area needs a permanent 24-hour facility to accommodate and maintain the people.

“Because if you don’t have those types of resources available to individuals, what you wind up doing is promoting chronicity,” said Sam Watts, CEO and executive director of Welcome Hall Mission.

“The City remains dedicated with the many partners to finding long-term solutions and assisting the efforts of community organizations, the health and social services network, and other levels of govt to build a housing shelter project,” the City of Montreal said in a statement.

Watts feels the city and province had enough time to put something in place but admits that the pandemic has made finding a permanent solution more difficult.

Until a permanent structure is established, proponents must scurry to find another temporary alternative.

Source: Global News

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