FGM panel on homelessness in Montréal “We must join forces”
For immediate release
FGM panel on homelessness in Montréal
“We must join forces”
Montréal, October 6, 2015 – On the same day that it launched its flagship report Vital Signs 2015, the Foundation of Greater Montréal (FGM) formed a round-table of seven important stakeholders in the fight against homelessness with the aim of raising awareness and discussing solutions as they apply to the metropolitan area. The discussion, which was open to the public, took place at the Maison du Père.
The CEO of the Foundation, Yvan Gauthier, served as moderator for the group. Speaking first, he highlighted the remarkable progress made by the local organizations: “If the fight against homelessness has become a public issue, it is thanks to the concerted efforts of the organizations that are devoting themselves at all the different levels in this fight. The City of Montréal has also equipped itself with a plan to reduce homelessness. I hope that these discussions will lead to even greater collaborations between the City, the local organizations and the institutions.” Mr. Gauthier also noted the results of I Count MTL 2015, a city-wide count performed last spring, which provided an overall picture of the situation in Greater Montréal.
Next to speak was Dr. Olivier Farmer, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Montréal, who pleaded for more concerted action. He emphasized that, on the institutional side, there must be a pooling of resources and a single planning hub for services that are specific to the fight against homelessness. "On the community side, this kind of consolidation is much less likely but equally necessary. As long as the institutions and organizations remain jealous of their prerogatives and their sources of funding, their actions and initiatives will remain local and limited,” he warned.
Matthew Pearce, president and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission, highlighted the need to increase the inventory of affordable and supportive housing, in all its types, and to match it to the needs of each homeless person. He also stressed the importance of forming partnerships that will help us transform the current reality and let us offer services that no single partner could offer on their own.
Robert Beaudry, director of PAS de la rue, expanded on this same idea: “I maintain that developing close links with other organizations and with the corporate world is crucial in the fight against homelessness, if we wish to solve a societal problem of this scale.”
France Desjardins, executive director of the Maison du Père, expressed strong concern about the aging of their clientele. A growing number of men are struggling with worsening mental health and addiction problems. "This makes their ability to hold on to housing very uncertain, even with follow-up in the community, which is not always optimal because the financial resources are lacking and there is not enough expertise for the most serious cases,” she explained.
Adrienne Campbell, executive director of Projets Autochtones du Québec, pointed out that Aboriginal people are overrepresented among the homeless. “Considering that Aboriginal people are only 0.56% of the Montréal population, but represent 10% of the homeless population, the situation is very disturbing,” she stated.
Pierre Gaudreau, coordinator at RAPSIM, an advocacy group for homeless people, noted that following the introduction of Quebec’s new policy on homelessness, an interdepartmental action plan was adopted in December 2014. “But this action plan will only succeed at the regional level if all the stakeholders are actively involved and if the government makes the investments that are needed,” he said.
Yvan Gauthier of the FGM said he was confident that this fruitful discussion between experts, stakeholders and the public heralded great improvements to come in our knowledge and understanding of homelessness issues in Greater Montréal.
About the Foundation
The Foundation of Greater Montréal helps individuals, families, and organizations establish philanthropic funds for their selected causes in the areas of education, health, social development, arts and culture, and the environment. The FGM manages the assets of the philanthropic funds and guides donors by identifying the most pressing issues in the community and the organizations and activities that support them. It also actively promotes the development of philanthropy as an important lever for the well-being of the community in Greater Montréal.
Since it was founded 15 years ago, the FGM has distributed more than $20 million in grants to more than 1,000 charitable organizations in Greater Montréal involved in all sectors of society. The assets managed by the FGM are now over $178 million.
Follow the FGM on Twitter: @FondationGrMTL
Follow Yvan Gauthier, the CEO of the FGM, on Twitter: @YGauthier_FGM
Foundation of Greater Montréal
Foundation of Greater Montréal