For a second year in a row, the Maison du Père emergency housing service team had to juggle with two major issues: the protection of its users in times of extreme cold and the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks.
At the beginning of December, Maison du Père offered 126 beds, 20 more than those authorized in the winter of 2020, in order to respect the standards of social distancing in the dormitories and common places.
However, a few days before Christmas, an outbreak broke out at the Shelter affecting many users as well as employees and volunteers. The users were referred to Hôtel Chrome since their condition did not require hospital care and the employees were placed in isolation. We had to
restrict our admissions in order to control the outbreak.
But, the cold weather arrived. The discourse changed.
We had to work around COVID and favor welcoming more homeless people. We have therefore resumed admissions despite the large number of people assigned to the Maison.
A shuttle has been made available to us so that users of the Shelter can be taken to day centers each morning. The City of Montreal has also requisitioned the Montreal soccer stadium in order to add 320 places to the 1,500 emergency beds already available in the city.
Therefore, the number of places is now sufficient to ensure the safety of the homeless. That being said, there is a glaring lack of human resources to provide services. At Maison du Père, for example, 35% of employees and volunteers have received a positive result since the beginning of the year.
May we hope that the coming months will be sweeter