Quebec City temporary homeless shelter shuts its doors
La Cheminée nocturne was always meant to be a temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness in Quebec City, but community workers are worried no one will be able to meet the needs left by its closure.
The temporary shelter has been operating through the YMCA Saint-Roch since December and provided food and shelter to about 75 people per day, said Olivier Martin, the director of family support programs and community at the YMCA.
No additional resources will be added to compensate for this closure. The people who relied on the services offered by the shelter, located at Café Rencontre, will have to find other options.
"We feel like we've done our part. We feel like passing the torch to someone else," said Martin.
"It takes a mobilization that is broader than just the YMCA and the Café Rencontre," he said, while acknowledging that the shelter's closure will put pressure on other organizations in the sector.
Winter not quite over
When the Cheminée nocturne opened, the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale and Quebec City said the solution was temporary. Over the past few weeks, workers have been helping those who use its services find other places to spend their nights.
"It's less dangerous to sleep in the street when it's 0 C than when it's -20 C, but it's no less serious," said Éric Boulay, the director of Quebec City's main shelter, Lauberivière.
If an episode of extreme cold or a final winter storm were to occur, the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale would be ready to offer ad hoc assistance, it said.
It snowed on Friday night.
"We hope that the good weather will settle in for them," said Martin.
For its part, the city is deploying security guards on Saturday to "ensure cohabitation" with residents and merchants in the Saint-Roch district. Agents will survey the area nightly.
Lauberivière at full capacity
Lauberivière is not able to host those who used to go to Café Rencontre, said Boulay.
With Lauberivière having been at full capacity for months, he is worried about how the Cheminée nocturne's closure will affect his own operations.
"There will be pressure, workers know that it risks creating crises and tensions. We will feel it from the first night," said Boulay.
"The place offered by the Cheminée nocturne is the kind of service you should have all year round."