Funds to fight homelessness in limbo

Community groups helping the homeless are calling on the federal and provincial governments to get their act together and free up much-needed funding.

Over three million dollars is earmarked for projects like one in east end Hochelaga Maisonneuve to help shelter young homeless people in a permanent apartment -like setting with access to social workers.

"It's going to be a social place where they can have people to share and to live with," coordinator François Villemure told a news conference in the back of the boarded up building slated for the project.

But the project has been delayed since the money is sitting around waiting for Ottawa and Quebec to decide how best to spend it, with the federal government's priority focussed on specific housing projects and Quebec taking a more global approach.

"It's not only a question of housing homelessness. We need services, we need services for people with drug addiction problems," said spokesman Pierre Gaudreault.

Gaudreault said officials keep telling them talks are progressing but nothing concrete has come of it since May.

Gaudreault said they want to get a move on these projects especially with winter coming soon. Last winter, men's homeless shelters saw a four per cent increase in occupancy rates. Last week alone, women's homeless shelters were at 125% capacity.

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