Published Saturday, June 30, 2018 1:57PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 30, 2018 1:58PM EDT
The Red Roof homeless shelter – one of the oldest in Montreal – may have to shutter its doors in the coming days due to a lack of funding.
“The current financial state is dire,” explained George Greene of St. Michael’s Mission. “Our expenses have gone through the roof – the demands from the client base are definitely high right now.
In the past few weeks, two large donors inexplicably pulled their support from the shelter, and money is fast running out.
Shelter administration has to cover staffing expenses and rent, as well as food and keeping a roof over the heads of those who need it most.
“They have a small place, a small room – but this is like their living room or their aunt’s kitchen or something,” said Mary Lennon. “It’s just a home away from home.”
Adding to the budget shortfall, last winter’s cold weather saw demand for refuge rise. While the Quebec government does give money, it’s prioritized funding for housing initiatives rather than shelters.
“We have to spend money on sustainable housing, but a day mission is still a necessity in downtown Montreal,” Greene added.
St. Michael’s missing has been operational for nearly a century, and has been in the basement of the Church of St. John the Evangelist for decades.
On a good day, almost 250 people come through for food, a hot shower, and a place to socialize with friends.
The Red Roof serves many in the city’s Indigenous population.
Charlie Nuktie has visited the shelter for over 15 years – it helped him with necessities like clothes and a brand new walker.
“I had no money for it – my friend got it for me who works here,” Nuktie said. “Some of the clients have a really hard time in their life, and they feel safe here.”
Greene remains optimistic that help will arrive.
If not, the Red Roof will close on July 15.
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