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Hotels helping the homeless

Par Marie Allimann | 27 février 2017 | Business

Hotels and building managers in downtown Montreal have joined forces to help the homeless population.

As part of the Action Médiation program, created by the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal and the Société de développement social (SDS), a team of 4 social workers and a coordinator have been doing outreach work in the community 5 days a week since January 2016. Their goal is to help homeless or highly vulnerable people who frequent the areas around hotels and commercial buildings in downtown Montreal. In one year, the team has had 1,500 interactions at 28 participating hotels and buildings, including the W, Marriott, Complexe Desjardins, Palais des congrès and buildings owned by Ivanhoé Cambridge. Ranging from a simple conversation to personalized support, the outreach workers have been able to help several hundred people dealing with issues related to mental or physical health, substance abuse, housing or other similar challenges.

Read more : Destination Emploi, the first online employment agency for homeless people

In addition to the services offered during the day by this team, a special shuttle has been reserved at night during the winter months, allowing hotel and building staff to accompany people to available shelters. Action Médiation has also provided hotel and building security officers with basic training on best practices to use with homeless people. Approximately 90 security officers have taken this training, allowing them to get a better understanding of the homeless issue.


ACTION MÉDIATION 2016 from Courtier Social on Vimeo.

“Our outreach workers are there to help reduce the isolation these people experience,” explained Émile Roux, executive director of the SDS. “Some of them have been familiar faces around these buildings for years, without bothering anyone, but also without receiving any assistance from anyone. We’re there to work together on finding solutions; we act as a bridge between the person and hospitals or community organizations. Reconnecting is the first step toward reintegrating into society.”

The Action Médiation program is fully funded by the hotels, Tourisme Montréal, the Palais des congrès and the managers of certain downtown commercial buildings.


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