As temporary homeless shelter at Place Dupuis closes, two new shelters are on the way

Hotel Dieu and Auberge Versailles will be converted to homeless shelters, it was announced Friday, following the news that Hotel Place Dupuis will no longer serve as a temporary homeless shelter as of June 30.

Hotel Dieu, located near the intersection of St-Urbain St. and Pine Ave., will have 100 beds available as of July 1, with the possibility of offering up to 200 beds in the future.

Auberge Versailles, located near the Radisson metro on Sherbrooke St., is also set to have 100 beds available in the coming months, although the exact date is yet to be specified.

Minister for Health and Social Services Lionel Carmant announced the change in a tweet, in which he highlighted the importance of “safe and suitable” accommodations for Montreal’s unhoused community.

“The needs are glaring,” he wrote.

1/2 Je suis heureux de confirmer que l'Hôtel-Dieu et l’Hôtel Versailles seront aménagés pour accueillir les personnes en situation d'itinérance dès le 1er juillet. Les besoins sont criants et on se doit d'offrir des lieux sécuritaires et adaptés.

— Lionel Carmant (@CarmantLionel) June 11, 2021

The transition from Hotel Place Dupuis to Hôtel Dieu will be managed by the Welcome Hall Mission, the organization that runs the shelter at Place Dupuis, which was converted to a homelesss shelter in November 2020.

Sam Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission, says a lot of work is being done in preparation for the move, including some renovations.

“It’s not a matter of simply turning the key in the lock and saying ‘okay, everybody in,’” he said.

Currently, roughly 180 beds are used per night at the Place Dupuis shelter, but only 100 beds will be available at Hotel Dieu upon its opening. Watts says his team is working to find alternative accommodations for those who won’t be able to obtain a spot at the new site. One option is the Macaulay Emergency Shelter, which is also run by the Welcome Hall Mission.

“It may be that somebody is referred to a different resource,” he said. “There may be a resource that is more appropriate for them than that particular spot, you know, the hospital Hotel Dieu.”

Whether accommodations will be available elsewhere is entirely dependent on health conditions, however. Watts warns that a spike in cases of COVID-19 could limit a shelter’s capacity.

“There are public health guidelines with respect to distancing and with respect to how many people we can have in the building at any one point in time,” he said.

“I’m hoping that we’ll have a place for everybody.”

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