COVID spreading quickly among Montreal's homeless: advocates

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Four well-known Montreal homeless resources reported on Tuesday an increasing number of homeless people and frontline workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Among the homeless population alone, 96 new positive cases have been counted since the holiday season, compared to 21 cases from March to December.

The Old Brewery Mission, Bon Accueil Mission, Maison du Père and Accueil Bonneau are asking the government of Quebec to give priority to homeless people and support workers.

“Vaccination is the first line of defense against a pandemic,” said Fiona Crossling, Executive Director of Accueil Bonneau.

"Our workers are doing their best to keep everyone safe, but we are under enormous pressure."

Vaccination against COVID-19 is available to staff working in hospital units.

James Hughes, President and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission, explains that when all staff in the community are vaccinated against the coronavirus, client resources can increase their capacity to accommodate homeless people who have need a safe place to spend the night.

Indoor accommodation is critical as the province prepares for just under four more weeks of curfew.

The four organizations say that the homeless are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 for several reasons.

Physical distancing is challenging in shelters where space is limited, and homeless people tend to not seek treatment until they are seriously ill, they say.

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