Montreal report highlights gaps in services for urban Indigenous population

A new report by the Montreal Indigenous Community Network says there are still gaps in the system that the people it serves are falling through.

According to the report, Indigenous people make up 12 per cent of the homeless people in Montreal despite only making up .6 per cent of the population.

“It’s really important to continuously put pressure on these systems but also to remind the current system and structures that are in place they are not doing enough,” said Leilani Shaw, executive director of the network. “They are not adapted to our community and what we need in order to thrive.”

Shaw said she hopes the report becomes a resource for organizations and governments moving forward.

“People end up homeless for multiple different reasons,” she said. “Whether they are coming to Montreal to receive different services like health care, education and mental health services–and through no fault of their own or for many different reasons they can end up trapped here.”

Stacy Boucher, runs a wet shelter in downtown Montreal. She said the over-representation of Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in the city isn’t new – neither is the struggle for money to keep resources open.

“Prevention is what pays off and prevention certainly doesn’t produce immediate results,” said Boucher. “It takes years, generations, but as a society, it pays to focus on prevention. It’s about making sure that families have enough support to live well. It’s about making sure that children are supported.” 

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