City sets aside close to $8M for the homeless

The city of Montreal has launched its ambitious three year, nearly $8M plan to help the homeless.

The 40 measures cover housing, policing, services for the homeless and employment.

A pilot project for a wet shelter is expected next year with an official opening in 2020 so homeless people with alcohol addictions can have a safe place to drink.

Other measures include public toilets, doubling the number of workers helping the homeless who find refuge in the metro and a new 211 information line telling outreach workers and citizens about available services to help the homeless.

The city will also review bylaws that may have a potential for social profiling resulting in many homeless people getting tickets.

Executive committee member responsible for the homelessness portfolio Rosannie Filato told a news conference that it's a "huge amount of work" when it comes to studying the bylaws and measures to help homeless people who do get tickets.

Filato said they want to have one officer per station to be assigned to the homelessness file.

"We want all the SPVM to be trained so that's something that's going to be done as of now," said Filato.

The plan also calls for the construction of 950 affordable housing units over four years but does not include the costs or funding because most of it is largely dependent on the federal and provincial governments.

Another homeless head count census will take place in April to help see where the resources are needed.

The homeless advocacy group, Réseau d'aide aux personnes seules et itinérantes de Montréal said the plan is ambitious but doable so long as there is a political will and the federal and provincial governments kick in their share of funding.