- The historic Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal will again be welcoming homeless Montrealers (and their pets) as temperatures drop in the city.
- Over 100 beds will be available to people in need, as well as over 1,000 overflow beds across the city.
- This is the second year the hospital has made space for those in need during the wintertime.
For the second winter in a row, the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal will be opening an overflow shelter. What started as a pilot project was a huge success last year. The government contributed nearly $230,000 to the project last year, according to CBC News.
The homeless in Montreal have it especially hard during the winter months and the Royal Victoria Hospital is taking measures to ensure that people are safe. On December 2, more than 1,000 beds will be available across the city for homeless Montrealers and their pets.
This year, the Royal Victoria Hospital alone will have over 100 beds available according to TVA Nouvelles. Across the whole city, there will be over 1,000 beds available at overflow shelters.
Last year, the hospital had 80 beds and sheltered over 1,500 homeless people. It accommodated roughly 67 people per night from January 15 to April 15. The Centres intégrés universitaires de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) and other advocacy groups called the project a success.
It's no secret that Montreal suffers from a homelessness problem. According to Global News, Montreal has a population of over 3,000 people who are considered "visibly homeless."
Mayor Valerie Plante has already praised the initiative, saying that "the shelter will be enhanced to better accommodate men and women on two single-sex floors". The shelter will also accommodate "trans people, intoxicated people, couples, people with pets and people with reduced mobility."
Last year, the overflow shelter received an immensely positive reaction from homeless advocacy groups in Montreal and the homeless population as well.
The Royal Victora Hospital shelter received over 1,400 men, 173 women, and 10 transgender people from 18 to 85 in 2018.
For many homeless people, Montreal's harsh winter presents incredible challenges. Though homeless advocacy groups in Montreal focus on hope with concrete solutions and to see a reduced need for overflow shelters, they appreciate that these places provide a safe place for the homeless in the city.
Crucially, women felt safe and secure in the Royal Victoria Hospital shelter. Last year, shelters were less crowded thanks to the Royal Victoria's efforts.
The Royal Victoria will be accepting donations of food and winter clothing throughout the coming months.
For those who have pets, the Royal Victoria will also be able to accommodate them. Last year, the hospital was happy to find that homeless people with pets weren't as big of a concern as expected.
At other shelters around the city, people might feel unsafe or have a lack of access to adequate services. The Royal Victoria Hospital hopes to end that.
Homelessness in Montreal still disproportionally affects Indigenous people and the mentally ill. Drug abuse is also still prevalent among the homeless.
With 150 beds compared to last year's 80, the Royal Victoria hospital hopes to be able to accommodate more homeless people (and pets) than ever before — if they need it.