'Corner stop' shelter in Longueuil, a necessity amid COVID-19, needs more funding to survive

Bruno Parisien spent years working in aerospace, but he says three months ago, out of work, he was evicted from his home.

“Just getting used to this life is a challenge, but it’s easier than I thought,” Parisien said. 

That’s because of Halte du coin -- a shelter that was set up in response to COVID-19 due to a rise in the number of people on the street and in need. 

Halte du coin, French for “corner stop,” is run by three different organizations that operate out of a church. It serves meals during the day and has beds for up to 25 people. 

One of the directors says it’s been at capacity since it opened. 

“It was really need-based,” said co-manager Nicholas Gildersleeve. “I think the pandemic (painted) a picture on the problem because we've been talking much more about – in the last months – about the difficulty that the homeless have in Montreal or around Montreal.” 

The hope is to make the temporary shelter permanent, but just to get through the winter, Gildersleeve says they need another $800,000 on top of their current funding. 

In a statement, the office for deputy health minister Lionel Carmant says the situation should be resolved within a few days. 

“This organization is very important for Longueuil and we want to reassure that it will remain open.”

This is welcomed news for staff.

One intervention worker calls the shelter a lighthouse – a beacon to guide people to its resources. 

“Sometimes, if they don't have that front-line place they don't know where to go, and they don’t get the help that they need, so I say that it's important that we stay here,” said Pierre Dupre. 

With the job losses amid the pandemic and no immediate ending to the pandemic in sight, staff say these beds will be necessary beyond next March. 

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