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Advocates say 33 unhoused people have died in Montreal over last 3 years

June 11, 2024

APTN News: Advocates who work in Montreal’s shelter system say 33 unhoused people have died in the city over the last three years – many of them were Indigenous women.

David Chapman, executive director of Resilience Montreal, said the housing crisis makes the situation worse.

“Another factor is the increase in the more dangerous drugs such as fentanyl,” he said, “a third factor is the city of Montreal’s approach, and more broadly in Quebec, of clearing encampments.”

Chapman added that people with no place to go are likely going to end up in dangerous circumstances.

“It is both sad and extremely frustrating because a significant number of the deaths on the board are unnecessary,” he said. “One of the really common things I see is young Indigenous women who are afraid to go to the hospital.”

Memorial at Cabot Square

A memorial was held in Cabot Square, a downtown meeting spot frequented by Montreal’s unhoused population. Here you’ll find no shortage of First Nation and Inuit spending their day.

People gathered last week to remember those who succumbed to life on the streets.

“Today is about honouring them, having people share, having an opportunity for staff to come and work with the people who are grieving and help them to move forward so they don’t end up this way,” said Nakuset, executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal.

She said the number of deaths around Cabot Square is alarming. Nakuset said the problem is inaction from all levels of government.

“Will there be in inquest into all of these 33 lives? Can we do more of that to find out what the root cause is? As oppose to just counting them when they are alive and really not doing very much about it?” she said.

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