Creation of the first homeless service point at metro Place-des-Arts

MONTREAL, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Société de développement social de Ville-Marie (SDSVM), first social broker in North America, is proud to announce the creation of the first service point for the homeless in downtown Montreal, located at the Place-des-Arts metro station, in collaboration with St. Michael's Mission day center and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM).

To meet the growing needs of the homeless taking refuge in the subway, the SDSVM has set up, with the help of their social partners (CLSC, CSSS, McGill faculty of medecine, Chez Doris, the CHUM and its mobile psychiatric clinic, PAQ….), a service point at the day center that will provide:

  • Continuous opening hours at the day center, from 8h to 13h;
  • Opening a consultation room at St. Michael's Mission to receive health care specialists;
  • A social worker will work directly in the field with the homeless to help them and refer them to services, and, in collaboration with the security services, staff and other actors working 6+9/t the subway station;
  • Medical, psychiatric and social consults on the spot;
  • Art Therapy Program; and
  • Implementation of research on socio-professional integration for the homeless at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Laval University in Quebec to better quantify and evaluate the results of our programs.

"The SDSVM, first social broker in North America, is proud to have mobilized the business, academic, social, medical and cultural community to help the homeless and to create the first Homeless Service Point at the Place-des-Arts metro station. This is only the first step before duplicating this project in other subway stations facing this issue," said Mr. Damien Silès, Executive Director of the SDSVM.

"After 85 years of existence, St. Michael's Mission has repositioned itself to become a one of a kind day center that will offer, thanks to health care professionals, adequate services to meet the growing medical needs of the homeless. Every day more than 200 people use our services. We believe that this project will address the distress these people face daily," indicated Mr. George Greene, member of the board of directors of St. Michael's Mission.

"Better access for vulnerable people, often homeless, to complete care that integrates mental health and substance abuse is important; with strong partnerships between the first line, community agencies and psychiatric hospitals, such as the CHUM association and Toit Rouge, is part of the solution. Token of success, these initiatives must be supported in order to ensure sustainability," added Dr. Didier Jutras Aswad, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Montreal, CHUM.

"Homelessness is a complex issue and represents a significant challenge for large cities. STM commends the work of the SDSVM which provides the homeless with resources and specialized services in order to help them. As a partner in this project, we hope that SDSVM will expand this service in other metro stations and we want to assure them of our full support," said Carl Desrosiers, CEO of STM.

"I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the SDVSM for the initiative they took in putting into place the first service point for the homeless in the downtown Montreal area.  Since being elected, I have witnessed many individuals and come to understand their harsh reality.  Our nation has to become more human in their approach to aid the homeless, a phenomenon which is not exclusive to downtown Montreal, as it is also an issue in other regions,"  stated Daniel Breton, Deputy of Sainte Marie-Saint-Jacques.

"Thanks to the pooling of expertise and resources new and innovative ideas can be born, ideas that are full of promise. Together, we will set up the first downtown point of service for the homeless and relieve the distress of men and women to whom we will offer a most valuable asset: the hope of a better life. Montrealers have a sense of responsibility as well as a desire to express their solidarity as evidenced by the announcement that brings us here today," said the mayor of Montreal, Mr. Michael Applebaum

About St. Michael's Mission
Indeed, the majority of homeless in this subway station use the services of the St. Michael's Mission every day. Under the Toit Rouge (for its red roof), this independent non-profit organization works with more than 200 homeless people and people living in poverty in downtown Montreal. Its mission is to meet their basic needs: food, hygiene, clothing and in case of emergencies for various needs.

About the Société de développement social de Ville-Marie
The partners of the Société de Développement Social de Ville-Marie for the curent project are: STM, Fondation Armand J. Bombardier, Makivik Corporation, Arrondissement Ville-Marie, National, Eidos Montréal, McKesson Canada and private donations. The SDSVM is financed by the Ville-Marie borough.

SOURCE: Société de développement social de Ville-Marie

For further information:

Robert Beaudry
Project manager, Société de développement social de Ville-Marie
Cell. : 514-503-4073
info@sdsvm.ca