Homeless Montrealers to get coffee, sandwiches and warmth at Cabot Square overnight tent
MONTREAL -- A heated tent in Cabot Square, a meeting place for many homeless Montrealers just west of downtown, will be up and running as of Tuesday evening, says the city.
The warming station project was begun without public help -- local advocates and donors from Kahnawake pledged the first money to make it happen. The city then agreed to "support" the idea, it said in a release Monday.
The tent was slated to be named after Raphael André, the Innu man whose body was found frozen last month near the shelter where he'd been keeping warm during the day, but which was closed at night at the time on public health's request.
"Following Mr. André's death in tragic circumstances, the Innu communities and the urban Aboriginal community quickly mobilized to develop a project to pay tribute to him," while helping others, said a release from the office of Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante on Monday.
"As we take a path of reconciliation, and in order to honour the memory of Mr. André, the City of Montreal is responding to the call... to support them in setting up an outdoor, temporary warming station at Cabot Square," Plante was quoted as saying.
The tent will be six metres by 14 metres, open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night to homeless people who frequent the Cabot Square area.
They'll not only be able to stay warm inside but to get coffee and a sandwich outside the tent, and social workers will be available to support them.
"The outdoor warming station project meets public health standards to ensure a safe place during this time of health crisis," the city's release said.
Plante said that "like all Montrealers, [she] was terribly shaken by the death of Raphaël Napa André a few days ago."
One of the project's main organizers, Nakuset, the director of the Native Women's Shelter, said the community was "devastated" by Andre's death and said she thanked all the partners on the project for their help.
Andre's family held a memorial service for him on Friday, the same day a vigil was held in Montreal.