Some organizations helping the homeless still struggling to help their clients during pandemic

HOMELESS

Some organizations that help the homeless say they are still struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic which has created a greater demand for their services.

The Benedict Labre House said some volunteers have had to leave because they went back to work or school, but the demand for services hasn't stopped.

Clinical coordinator Francine Nadler said they used to provide about 20 food baskets a week to needy people which tripled last year when they moved from Griffintown to St. Henri.

"Now with COVID, there was an explosion, and we had to respond. During the pandemic, we were delivering 200 food bags a week," said Nadler in an interview with CJAD 800.

Nadler said they really need donations of clothing, personal hygiene products and even camping equipment, with more of their clients setting up camp outside instead of going to homeless shelters.

"They are camping around the church where we are, they are camping on the canal, they are camping under highways," said Nadler.

Nadler said they agree with other organizations who say the three recently announced emergency homeless shelters are not enough.

"I think that's what people really don't understand - they think, Oh there's a bed available in the east end, we'll just ship the person there. That person is not a part of that community. And everybody has a reason for being in the community that they're in, whether it be family, whether it be friends, whether it be services," said Nadler.

Nadler said the various levels of government have to do more to address the issue, especially now that the pandemic has made the problem worse.
 

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