A local organization that helps the Indigenous homeless population in Montreal says it secured a permanent location for its emergency shelter, replacing the temporary location known as PAQ2.
Stacy Boucher-Anthony, executive director of Indigenous Project Quebec, said that when PAQ2 was launched, it was not set up to be a permanent shelter and lacks some of the services the organization offers.
“For the new PAQ2, the facilities will belong to us. (The construction) will require merging two buildings into a single one, so the complexity comes from there,” Boucher-Anthony said in an interview
Boucher-Anthony said they were unable to sign a long-term lease with the owner of the building at the temporary location.
A Cree woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she has been living at the temporary shelter since she arrived in Montreal a year ago.
She called PAQ2 her “safe place” while she looks for more permanent housing and said that having a permanent location was positive step for the shelter.
“Better services would be good for other clients as well because there are people that want to come in here, but the building has already reached the maximum of the people that they can accommodate,” the woman said.
Boucher-Anthony said that the nearly $15 million project had received $7.7 million from the federal government, $6.5 million from the province and $650,000 from the Makivvik Corporation.
She also noted that it will have to finance a $2.3 million for the project.
Joey Partridge, who is in charge of homelessness issues at the Makivvik Corporation, which represents the province’s Inuit community, said the they have a longstanding relationship with Indigenous Project Quebec.
“We wanted to really put almost the maximum amount to really make sure that we help PAQ2 transition from their location to the other one, especially knowing that there’s a 41 per cent homelessness in in our community and in we are the majority within the indigenous community,” he said.
He added that supporting partners that work with the Inuit community in southern Quebec is part of Makivvik’s mandate.
The new location, the shelter will accommodate up to 50 men and women, offering 24-hour intervention services, according to Boucher-Anthony.
Quebec Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière said that it was an important project to support.
“The other problem we’re seeing in Montreal at the moment is that many organizations are having to move to lower rents because of the high cost of rent, but they’re moving away from their clientele. So, for us, it was really important to keep these organizations close to vulnerable clients,” Lafrenière said in an interview.
The PAQ2 is slated to move by December 2027. Until then, it will continue to operate in its temporary location.