Homeless advocates concerned about new federal housing initiative

Homelessness in Montreal is no longer confined to the downtown core.

Homeless advocates said they are worried about an impending deal between Quebec and Ottawa.

The Réseau de solidarité itinérance du Québec (RSIQ) and the Réseau d’aide aux personnes seules et itinérantes de Montréal (RAPSIM) met the press on Tuesday to express their worries over the deal, including the Canada-Quebec agreement on homelessness that is set to be signed next.

Dubbed as the “Reaching Home” initiative, Ottawa has committed to cut homelessness in half nationally within ten years, delegating $2.2 billion countrywide to homelessness programs.

These groups said this deal could be too rigid to adapt to regional needs and at-risk groups specific to their communities, like youth and single mothers. 

This project supports the goals of the federal National Housing Strategy, which aims to assist vulnerable Canadians with access to safe, stable and affordable housing. 

But outreach groups said the government is only looking at the tip of the iceberg, and is putting too much emphasis on chronic homelessness. 

They said the new strategy must also include funding for prevention programs.