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A Homeless Montreal Woman Died In The Cold Near Berri-UQAM

This is the second death of an unhoused Montrealer in the past 10 days.

Associate Editor
A Homeless Montreal Woman Died In The Cold Near Berri-UQAM

An unhoused Montreal woman died near Berri-UQAM metro station early on Thursday morning, marking the second death of a homeless Montrealer in the last 10 days.

Urgences-santé spokesperson Sébastien Coulombe said 911 received a phone call at 1:20 a.m regarding a woman, who he said was in her 60s, requiring medical attention on the corner of boulevard de Maisonneuve and rue Saint-Denis.

When paramedics arrived on the scene, Coulombe said they discovered she was in a state of cardiac arrest before pronouncing her dead. He could not confirm the cause of death, or whether it was related to cold weather, but temperatures felt like 20 degrees below zero with the wind chill at points during the evening leading up to her death.

On January 10, another member of Montreal's homeless community died after being found unconscious with hypothermia in a Notre-Dame-de-Grâce encampment, as temperatures dipped well into the negative double digits.

The coroner's office is set to investigate the two deaths.

Both occurred around the one-year anniversary of the death of Raphaël Napa André, an Indigenous man who died outside after-curfew near Montreal's The Open Door shelter in January 2021. Posting about a memorial held in Andre's honour at Cabot Square earlier this week, Nakuset, director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, tweeted "We must do better to support our community members."

The Director of Women's Services at The Old Brewery Missions' Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion, Neila Ben Ayed spoke with MTL Blog regarding yesterday's death, calling it "very sad". Ayed added that winter temperatures and the ongoing pandemic have made it harder for her shelter to operate effectively and that it's at full capacity despite increasing its bed count.

However, Ben Ayed said the shelter cafeteria remains open so women in need can continue to access warm beverages, warm clothes and shelter at any hour of the day.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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