The City of Montreal must take the lead and “bring its partners out of inertia” to find a roof and to create a multi-service center for homeless Indigenous people in the Milton-Parc district of Montreal, pleads Me Nadine Mailloux, Montreal Ombudsman. In his opinion, still too little is being done to arrive at a solution.
Social misery is glaring in this sector of downtown Montreal where crowds of indigenous people – in most cases heavily intoxicated or sick – have been there for years.
In May, the Montreal ombudsman tabled his report entitled “Do not look away”. Wednesday morning, M.e Mailloux therefore commented on the progress of the City’s initiatives in this matter.
She recognizes from the outset that “real efforts” have been made by the City of Montreal.
“Of the five recommendations, two are on the right track to be met (flexibility in urban planning regulations and citizen participation) and one is fully implemented (funding of non-profit organizations)”, can we read in the ombudsman’s monitoring report.
But much more needs to be done to help Aboriginal people in the first place, but not only, the ombudsman stressing that the quality of life in the neighborhood is also at stake.
“A lot of work remains to be done”, judges the ombudsman, mainly with regard to two recommendations, namely “on the crucial axes of homeless accommodation and prevention”.
The ombudsman “looks for concrete results and carries out quarterly follow-ups”, she assures us.
Yes to a refuge, says the cabinet of Valérie Plante
On the side of the cabinet of the mayoress Valérie Plante, we were assured to share the opinion of the Ombudsman on the need “to make accessible a shelter for Aboriginal and Inuit people experiencing homelessness. This is what we are working hard on in order to mobilize our partners in the health network and the government to make everything possible”.
“We are in the process of undertaking a major systemic change, which, we are aware, will not happen overnight. To achieve this, we mobilize all government partners and the health network, as well as Aboriginal organizations and communities. Our administration remains firmly committed and we will spare no effort to support people in situations of extreme vulnerability in the Milton-Parc sector and elsewhere in the city. »
Benoit Langevin, Official Opposition spokesperson on homelessness, believes that “the fact that the Ombudsman is obliged to do a quarterly follow-up with the Plante administration is proof that it is incapable to honor its commitments to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Milton-Parc”.