The influx of asylum seekers to Quebec is putting pressure on the province’s social services network, with homeless shelters in Montreal bearing the brunt.
France Labelle, with a youth homeless shelter in downtown Montreal, says a rising number of requests for beds is coming from asylum seekers, who she says compose about 10 percent of her clientele.
Sam Watts, head of homeless shelters with the Welcome Hall Mission, says that homelessness in the asylum seeker population in Montreal is a relatively new phenomenon.
The federal government says that between January and November 2022, 45,250 asylum seekers arrived in Quebec, compared to 7,290 people for all of 2021.
Quebec Premier François Legault said last month that the province needed help from Ottawa to house, educate and integrate the rising number of asylum seekers in the province.
Labelle says shelters and other parts of Montreal’s social services network need appropriate resources to accommodate the increasing demand from would-be refugees.