Women’s Shelter | Rejection is growing for lack of space

Go to Anchor Home in St. Michel

Posted April 18

Coral Laplante

Coral Laplante
The press

Every day miserable women call for shelter. And every day, workers have to refuse requests for help due to lack of space. This situation is part of the annual increase in rejection for lack of space in Quebec women’s shelters, which was 8,000 in 2019-2020.

Les Maisons de l’Ancre, which includes a medium-term shelter and two permanent housing buildings in Montreal, is no exception. The company is forced to reject about 1,000 a year, Director General Julie Chevalier estimates.

The Anchor Home, located in the Arrondissement of Saint-Michel, is like any other residential building. However, surveillance cameras surround the building.

The spirit of solidarity among the women living there is clear. Downstairs, some are busy cooking dinner, while others are watching television in the living room. The case workers’ office is on the same floor, ready to welcome women in need.


Photo by Francois Roy, Press

Residents watch television in the living room of the L’Ancre hostel on the east end of Montreal.

Before coming to Anchor Shelter, Stephanie * lived in a number of shelters, some of which were for women victims of domestic violence. At that time, he could no longer see with two eyes [son] The past “, and various resources were not suitable for hosting it.” It’s like a family, “she says, pointing to welcoming her to the anchor home.

We run a routine here, that’s fine. Sometimes we need it in life, a routine, to start all over again.

Stephanie, a resident of Anchor Home

Josie * was living in the anchor home for six months during our visit. He became addicted to drugs during a previous relationship, then became a victim of sexual and domestic violence. He lost two apartments and a job. Josie lived consistently with her father, who had to take care of her, and her daughter.

“I am just beginning to assimilate [que je suis en] Safety, then sleep. I have a lot of insomnia, nightmares, Flashback “She is sitting in Anchor Foyer’s room for an art therapy workshop,” he said. “I can sleep, no one will sleep garrock Under the bed, “he continues. Josie also appreciates listening to the staff, who provide” all the equipment. ”


Photo by Francois Roy, Press

Melanie Hubert and Julie Chevalier are discussing with residents in the vicinity of the evening meal.

The Federation of Women’s Shelters (FMHF) has rejected 8,000 for lack of space between 2019-2020. “I have been at home for 16 years. [Fédération], And has always been rejected for lack of space. However, every year, it increases, ”recalls Manon Monastes, director of the FMAHF.

“We always try to find a Plan B, a Plan C,” he continuedMe Monastery. Some women must be kept in another area, and others, temporarily placed in an asset before being rehabilitated in another area.

“There aren’t many institutions like the Maisons de l’Ancre in Montreal. That [me] It hurts, because I do [je connais] “There are a lot of people who are in a precarious situation,” said Margaret *, a resident of Anchor Home He found himself on the street after his house caught fire.


Photo by Francois Roy, Press

Laurie and Margaret, two residents of the anchor house

“I can finally move to this safe place, simply find time to survive,” Lori * said. After second place in psychiatry, the anchor home allows him to regain stability.

“Pick up the broken pot”

Interventions are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the Anchor Home. A total of 11 women live there for 6 months to 2 years. The two of them are in a transitional apartment in the same building. These are women who are at home or at risk of becoming homeless and who are most likely to be victims of violence.

As every week, about ten workers gathered in the meeting room of the shelter, on the morning of the inspection. The press. Discussed with residents one by one. They exchanged advice on the best way to intervene with a woman suffering from paranoia and closed the branch about the possibility of a second woman taking self-defense classes.


Photo by Francois Roy, Press

Julie Chevalier, director of the housing center

Julie Chevalier believes workers are still in the process of “picking up broken pots” from the effects of the epidemic. The director noted that “at least three locations” have been created in Mason de l’Ancre since the onset of the epidemic to meet the growing demand for women.

Aware of the captivity, the women, already isolated, felt more alone because they could only leave the house on a very rare occasion. Intervention coordinator Veronica Bordezes noted an increase in frustration and suicidal thoughts among residents.

Important accommodation is needed in the medium term

Maisons de l’Ancre is calling for more mid-term, single-sex and open 24-hour accommodation in Montreal. “It’s very difficult to reject the telephone every day when our goal is to save lives,” said Julie Chevalier.

The agency also regrets the lack of shelters that welcome women to the medium term in the metropolis rather than emergency shelters.


Photo by Francois Roy, Press

Veronica Boardage, Intervention Coordinator

“Often, they call another emergency accommodation because the location, at one point, it ends, it’s a month. Then when you are months away, you are waiting in every resource, “said Veronica Bordeghes.

“It’s a roulette wheel, we’ll do it sometime [leur] Say: ‘Yes, you have a bed today,’ “Melanie Hubert, a coordination support agent, recalls.

* The women who testified did not want to reveal their titles.

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