Some improvement to Montreal Village but troubles persist, community members say

MONTREAL — Members of the community in Montreal’s Village neighbourhood say they’ve seen some improvements to local security and cleanliness, but argue Quebec needs to do more to support vulnerable people in the area.

Montreal last June launched a strategy to revitalize the historic LGBTQ district after residents and business owners raised safety concerns amid intersecting homelessness, drug use and mental health issues in the area.

Emily Yu, owner of local restaurant Yamato Dumpling, says the situation last summer led her to close her establishment’s outdoor seating area and install a doorbell to control entry to the inside dining room.

She says she has since received positive feedback from customers about increased sanitation in the Village, but there still hasn’t been enough progress to make her confident enough to reopen outdoor dining this summer.

Christian Généreux, spokesperson for advocacy group J’aime mon Village, says that despite the city’s many efforts to improve the neighbourhood, local officials are limited in their ability to address underlying health and social challenges.

François Bergeron, director of community service association CDC Centre−Sud, says the province needs to help provide more resources to unhoused people in the Village.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2024.

The Canadian Press