Coalition of Montreal men's shelters seeks "last-resort" meeting on long-standing public funding issue



    MONTREAL, Oct. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - With winter looming and still no word on
a long-standing request for additional provincial government funding,
Montreal's three main shelters for adult homeless men are planning a final
attempt to resolve the issue and avert an imminent crisis.
    The shelters - Old Brewery Mission, Maison du Père and Welcome Hall
Mission - formed a common front last February in seeking an additional
$3.7 million of recurring annual funding to meet the growing operational costs
of providing a combined 548 overnight beds and meals for the homeless.
    "At an emergency meeting last week at the Agence de la santé et des
services sociaux de Montréal, the Quebec government agency that administers
local health and social services, we were told every effort had been made and
the agency had done all it could do," said James Hughes, Executive Director of
the Old Brewery Mission. "It was suggested we could possibly get some money
through other government programs, but this would represent merely a symbolic
amount."
    In what the coalition of shelters terms "a last-resort" effort, the group
has sent a letter to Quebec minister of health and social services
Dr. Philippe Couillard requesting an emergency meeting to explore how this
impending crisis can be averted. "We have done everything we can over the last
20 months to convince them it is a worthwhile investment," stated Geneviève
Grégoire, Executive Director of Maison du Père. "We want a face-to-face
meeting to see what their intentions are, and whether there is real money out
there. It's really up to Dr. Couillard to decide whether he takes homelessness
seriously."
    The lack of additional provincial government funding has forced the three
shelters to withdraw from the emergency winter shelters committee overseen by
the Agence. Cyril Morgan, Executive Director of Welcome Hall Mission, said the
shelters decided to pull out because, without additional funding they don't
know how many beds they will be able to offer this winter.
    Currently, about 90 per cent of the three shelters' funding comes from
private sources. The provincial government subsidizes the remaining
10 per cent, an amount that represents about $5 a day for the care of each
homeless man. The three shelters have asked the provincial government to raise
the subsidy to $24 a day, which would still be far short of the $61.70 daily
per capita that men's shelters in Toronto derive from combined provincial and
municipal subsidies.




For further information:

For further information: Johanne Lépine, Torchia Communications, (514)
288-8290, ext 234, jlepine@torchiacom.com; Marie-Eve Noel, Torchia
Communications,(514) 288-8290, ext 234, menoel@torchiacom.com


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