The word from the President and CEO – October 2020

It has recently been reported that as a result of COVID-19, Montréal’s homeless population may have as much as doubled. This increase in homelessness is more and more visible, not just in the downtown area but also in surrounding neighbourhoods. This is one more example of the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. We now know how they have hit the most vulnerable in our community the hardest.

As well as forcing more people into the street, COVID-19 has hammered away at the resources that they depend on daily. Their already low incomes have dropped. Shelters have had to reduce their number of spaces. Public spaces have been closed. And now, we find ourselves at the beginning of a second wave of the pandemic, with colder weather having arrived. It is the duty of the entire Montréal community to act to meet these pressing needs.

However, the COVID-19 tree should not prevent us from seeing the rest of the forest, nor from envisaging solutions to homelessness. This issue, with roots so numerous and deep, is much more complex than that. Poverty and job insecurity, social isolation, systemic discrimination, difficulty accessing health care: all of these factors feed homelessness. As we reported in our Vital Signs of Greater Montréal 2020 report, indicators of equality and social progress have mostly stagnated in Montreal over the last 20 years. This means the range of strategies for combatting homelessness is also very broad. That is why FGM and its donors support multiple organizations. The people who work there are tirelessly working to end homelessness. Also, until that happens, they lend a hand to those who are still experiencing it. Together, let’s answer the call and put an end to homelessness.

Thank you and talk to you soon,

Karel Mayrand
President and CEO
Foundation of Greater Montréal