Montreal

Quebec invests $3M to buy permanent home for Resilience Montreal near Cabot Square

Nakuset, the executive director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, which runs Resilience Montreal, called the funding windfall "truly overwhelming."

Unprecedented donation for shelter that works with homeless people from Indigenous communities

Nakuset is the executive director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal which runs Resilience Montreal. She called the government's investment 'overwhelming.' (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

Resilience Montreal, a shelter that works with homeless people in downtown Montreal, will receive $3 million from the Quebec government to buy a permanent home in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

The shelter works primarily with people from Indigenous communities who gather in and around Cabot Square. For the past year, it has been operating out of a former restaurant near the square, though its lease is set to expire this spring.

The money from the provincial government will allow Resilience Montreal to purchase a building close to Cabot Square and set up a day shelter.

Nakuset, the executive director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, which runs Resilience Montreal, called the funding windfall "truly overwhelming."

"​I have been working in this field for over 20 years and I have never received this amount of money from the [Indigenous Affairs Ministry]," said Nakuset.

She added that this investment comes at a time when being homeless is particularly precarious.

Resilience Montreal operates a temporary day shelter in Cabot Square year round. The money from the provincial government will allow it to buy a permanent home. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

"I know that COVID has been hard on everyone, but it has just been unbelievable for those that are homeless. They have been in a predicament where they don't know what is going to happen the next day. And there have been a lot of deaths in the community," she said.

At Monday's announcement, Quebec Indigenous Affairs Minister ​Ian Lafrenière said that there was an "urgency to act" to secure a building before the offer expired March 1. 

Lafrenière said "​buildings are getting extremely costly" in Montreal's real estate market, but he feels it's important that resources are close to Cabot Square, especially after The Open Door shelter was forced to move out of the area in 2018.

The location of Resilience Montreal's new building has not yet been revealed as the sale is not finalized.

A coalition of private foundations are contributing a further $1.5 million to help finance the centre's operating budget over the next few years.

"Beyond providing a meal, a shower, a safe place to rest to those experiencing homelessness, Resilience Montreal is actually creating a community, a community for people who are excluded from our society, a place where they feel safe. It is literally saving peoples lives every day," said Tasha Lackman, vice-president of philanthropy for the Foundation of Greater Montreal, one the foundation behind the donation.

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