MONTRÉAL, Sept. 29, 2023 /CNW/ - The governments of Canada and Québec will provide financial assistance for the purchase and conversion of two buildings by Projets Autochtones du Québec (PAQ) to establish PAQ2, a low barrier shelter in Montréal. The MP for LaSalle?Émard?Verdun, the Honourable David Lametti, the Minister Responsible for Relations with the First Nations and the Inuit, Ian Lafrenière, and the Mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante, made the announcement today.
The Canadian government has granted $7.7 million through the urban component of the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund. The Fund supports the infrastructure priorities established by Indigenous partners and communities in urban centres. The Québec government, in turn, has granted $6.5 million under the Community Infrastructure component of the Indigenous Initiatives Fund. Makivik Corporation has also contributed $656,936 to the project.
Since 2004, Projets Autochtones du Québec (PAQ) has managed a service hub and cultural anchor point for homeless and vulnerable Indigenous people in downtown Montréal. It provides two emergency shelters in the city for Indigenous people, transition housing for people leaving homelessness behind, a residential managed alcohol program, housing for homeless or vulnerable Indigenous people who have difficulty finding a home, and culturally adapted social reintegration services. Around half of PAQ's clients are Inuit.
To meet the needs observed on the ground, PAQ opened a new low barrier shelter in 2020, offering 24/7 services and a capacity of up to 50 people. The existence of PAQ2 increases the safety of homeless Indigenous people and mitigates the difficulties of cohabitation in the sector. PAQ2 currently occupies two leased spaces, but it is not possible to sign a long-term lease. For this reason, the project announced today involves the purchase and conversion, by PAQ, of two buildings to relocate the PAQ2 shelter and its services. Between 45 and 50 places will be provided, offering a similar capacity to the temporary leased premises.
The Québec government is determined to respond to the specific needs of homeless and vulnerable people in Montréal, including those from First Nations and Inuit communities. The financial commitments made by the Québec government and the other partners in the PAQ2 project, including Indigenous Services Canada, and by Makivik Corporation should have a positive impact on the most vulnerable members of the Indigenous community living in the city.
"PAQ2 is vital for people who have nowhere else to go. Since it opened, the PAQ2 shelter has provided services that are essential for the homeless Indigenous population of downtown Montréal. Thanks to this leadership, we can today announce the creation of a new safe and culturally-adapted space that will make a huge difference in the lives of many people."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
"Projets Autochtones du Québec has been making a real difference in the lives of homeless Indigenous people in Montréal for many decades. The PAQ2 project will create the permanent and functional spaces that are greatly needed, where some of the most vulnerable people in Montréal will continue to receive assistance using an innovative, safe and culturally secure approach."
The Honourable David Lametti, MP for LaSalle?Émard?Verdun
"The situation of homeless First Nations and Inuit community members calls for a culturally adapted solution that takes their specific realities into account. Over the years, Projets Autochtones du Québec has demonstrated a sense of leadership to improve the situation of the most vulnerable Indigenous people in Montréal. I thank PAQ and all the project partners for their contribution to this essential initiative."
Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Relations with the First Nations and the Inuit
"I am delighted to see the emergence of a long-term solution that will allow the activities of Projets Autochtones du Québec to continue. The relocation of PAQ2 to a new space will ensure the stability of PAQ's services, which are absolutely essential to the wellbeing of homeless or otherwise vulnerable people in Montréal. Our government is proud to participate in this project, and I am optimistic for the project's future."
Lionel Carmant, Minister Responsible for Social Services
"The culturally adapted services provided by Projets Autochtones du Québec meet the compelling needs of a highly vulnerable population in Montréal. These types of services offer a crucial step in getting people off the street. Homelessness is a difficult and complex issue that requires close collaboration between all the partners. We welcome the involvement of the governments of Québec and Canada, and the city of Montréal will continue to contribute in order to facilitate social cohabitation in the sector. The new shelter will offer a safe refuge for vulnerable people from the urban Indigenous community and help them look for stable housing."
Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal
"On behalf of Montréal's urban Indigenous community, PAQ offers its warmest thanks to the federal and provincial governments and to Makivik Corporation for this major investment. Their support will enable us to offer the stability that is essential to the members of our community, through the creation of this facility. Located close by, it will continue to fight homelessness in the Milton Park area by offering emergency shelter for up to 50 Indigenous men and women, along with 24-hour intervention services. PAQ is certain that it will be able to obtain the $2.3 million needed to complete the project. Together, we can continue to create a brighter future for our community in a spirit of compassion and resilience."
Stacy Boucher-Anthony, Executive Director, Projets Autochtones du Québec
"Makivik is proud to financially support this important project for the homeless Inuit community of Montreal. Our fellow Inuit, who are in a difficult situation, require our attention and assistance. With this project, they will be able to have a safe shelter where our cultural practices and wellness will be encouraged and facilitated."
Jean Dupuis, Director, Department of the President, Makivik Corporation
SOURCE Cabinet du ministre responsable des Relations avec les Premières Nations et les Inuit
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