After a few weeks of procrastination and research, the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de l’Outaouais, the city of Gatineau and organizations working with people experiencing homelessness have announced that the Jos Montferrand room of the Robert-Guertin Arena, in the Hull sector, has been identified for the heat stop. This issue was a major issue in the context of a pandemic, for the urban environment in the Outaouais. This aims to provide a place of respite in cold weather for people experiencing homelessness who have no place to spend the night or who wish to warm up for a few hours. According to the CISSS, the agreed location meets all the safety and accessibility criteria sought by the various partners and limits the impact on organizations, their customers and the surrounding population.
“The mobilization of all stakeholders made it possible to find a solution to ensure that people experiencing homelessness can find a little comfort during cold weather. It is a vulnerable clientele that needs our support,”said the director of mental health and addiction programs at the CISSS de l’Outaouais, Alain Godmaire.
La Soupe populaire’s offer to review its space requirements freed up space that could not be considered at the start. It is now possible to begin the necessary arrangements in order to be able to offer this place to people experiencing homelessness. As the emergency accommodation center is located in the same establishment, a separate entrance is available for users of the heat stop. With a limited space, contacts will be limited between the two clienteles.
The establishment of the heat stop is possible thanks to the invaluable collaboration between the CISSS de l’Outaouais, the city of Gatineau, the Gîte Ami, the BRAS Outaouais, the Soupe Populaire de Hull and the CIPTO. At the Robert-Guertin Arena, people will find accompanying persons to welcome them, listen to them and offer them coffee. The heat stop will be in operation as of December 4, 7 days a week from 4:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. the next day, or 22 hours a day, for the winter period. The coordination of operations will be provided the Gîte Ami in partnership with Le BRAS Outaouais and CIPTO.