With the arrival of cold weather, the Mission is initiating its winter protocol, effective this Sunday, December 1. It includes emergency measures to make sure all Montrealers have a warm, safe and dignified place to spend the night.
For 130 years, the Mission has been providing essential services to everyone who knocks on its doors. This year, it is also providing much needed psychosocial services and respite by establishing a warming centre at the Red Roof, located in the Quartier des spectacles neighbourhood.
The overnight warming centre accommodates men, women and pets, with few admission restrictions. It will welcome people who live on the street, who often do not have access to services. The centre will offer hot soup and coffee, a friendly ear, a change of clothing if needed and referrals. It will be located at St. Michael’s Mission/Red Roof, 137 Président-Kennedy Ave., Montreal, and will be open 7 days a week from 8:15 p.m. to 5:45 a.m.
A driver and Mission staffer will travel along downtown streets from 2 p.m. to 8 a.m., Mondays to Fridays, and from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekends, inviting homeless people to come aboard, warm up, and get a safe ride to or from an emergency shelter, including the overflow shelter in the Ross Memorial Pavilion at the former Royal Victoria Hospital. The shuttle will also be at the Bonaventure metro station every night when it closes.
The Mission is working closely with Montreal’s other main resources for homeless people, as well as emergency services and public transit, including the Montréal police (SPVM) and the Société de transport de Montréal, to help keep everyone safe.
“The reopening of the overflow shelter at the former Royal Victoria Hospital on December 2 will relieve the pressure on our resources, but this is a temporary solution to a problem we can and must resolve once and for all,” says Matthew Pearce, Mission President and CEO.” Our strategic priorities include not only the creation of affordable permanent housing but also health, prevention, research and forming partnerships to unite our efforts behind a shared vision: ending homelessness.”
Women who are homeless can turn to the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion at 1301 De Maisonneuve Blvd. East for basic necessities, as well as individual counselling, adapted health services and affordable housing. Last year, the Pavilion served 545 women in need, including members of the LGBT community and growing numbers of recent immigrants. With its 55 beds and various affordable housing options, the Mission’s women’s services are one of the main gateways to a better life for homeless women in Canada.
For men who are homeless, the Webster Pavilion at 915 Clark St. has 286 beds and a host of adapted services.
The Mission has launched a new online fundraising platform where individuals can find creative new ways to raise money for and support people who are homeless.
For inspiration, watch the video graciously narrated by CHOM radio host Pete Marier: