Montreal Chinatown residents angry over continued presence of homeless people

Montreal Chinatown residents angry over continued presence of homeless people

Tensions are rising between residents and the homeless in Montreal’s Chinatown.

This weekend, a neighborhood organization distributed food along De La Gauchtiere Street, but residents who live nearby say it encourages people to stay put while the city finds other solutions.

“I’m afraid to leave here every day,” said resident Marie-Josee Leblanc.

“It’s not like when I came here,” said another resident ResChristiane Jansen. “It’s not the same environment.”

Last October, a homeless shelter in Complexe Guy Favreau closed. Since then, residents and business owners have reported increased crime and drug use.

Despite raising their concerns, they say they were ignored by the city.

Many people who used the shelter ended up on the streets and other facilities, such as the Old Brewery Mission, are full.

Residents propose that the city convert vacant office buildings into shelters and housing.

“There are a lot of empty buildings, but even though they don’t meet the norms and standards, it’s better than tents,” Jansen said.

The civil rights group CRARR (Center for Research-Action on Race Relations) is concerned that the situation has not been resolved since the fall.

“There is something wrong with the fact that so much money is being spent and people still don’t have access to the right services,” said Fo Niemi, executive director of CRARR.

The city said camping in public places cannot be tolerated and that the street becomes “an open-air hospital or house.”

“Our teams take the time to refer these individuals to various agencies depending on their needs,” the city said.

Meanwhile, tensions continue to rise, keeping relations between the neighbors tense.