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October 2014 : Word from the CEO

Community engagement : a key ingredient in the fight against homelessness.
By Yvan Gauthier

Our most recent edition of Vital Signs, published in 2012, provided an overview of the vitality of Greater Montreal based on the latest indicators. It also reported a number of somewhat troubling facts about persistent problems in our region: food insecurity, dropout rates, domestic violence, expanding areas of poverty, substandard housing, employment integration difficulties for immigrants, and more. These ongoing challenges prompted the FGM to launch a call to action in the community. This alert is now more pressing than ever in light of the current state of the economy.

The situation faced by homeless people has been the subject of particular focus and collaborative action in recent years. Especially crucial have been a number of experimental initiatives, such as the CHEZ SOI project, supported by organizations including the FGM and offering specialized services to help homeless people reintegrate socially.These projects, along with the broad mobilization of community organizations and institutions, have brought new strategies to light and have spurred an important public dialogue. This past spring, as part of the discussion, the Quebec government announced a long-awaited national policy on homelessness. Then, on September 25th, the City of Montreal's Mayor unveiled the city’s three-year action plan to tackle homelessness. The plan includes the creation of housing, increased subsidies for innovative projects, the appointment of a Protector of homeless individuals, and the launch of a census of homeless people beginning this winter, a move that many organizations have been calling for.

These announcements represent big steps forward compared to the situation in 2012, and we applaud all of the individuals and organizations who have contributed to this highly positive and exemplary synergy between the government initiatives and the mobilization of the community. The FGM has taken part in this evolution, and we will also be involved in actively supporting the projects that will emerge in the coming months.

CLICK HERE for more info on the City of Montreal's Plan d'action montréalais en itinérance (available in French).
READ Rene Bruemmer's story on the City of Montreal announcement (with video) on The Montreal Gazette website.