Higher demand, less funding and rising costs: this is the challenge facing community agencies in Greater Montreal.
The health crisis has triggered an explosion in demand for assistance in areas such as food security, housing, mental health, and homelessness. The housing crisis and resulting inflation have continued to put a strain on people living in poverty. The pressure on agencies is high, as COVID-19 emergency funds have expired while costs continue to rise.
Despite these dilemmas, the community will ensure no one is left behind. As the last few years have clearly shown, this sector is the ideal partner to help find fast and innovative solutions to complex situations such as a health crisis or even the difficult period we are currently experiencing. But for these solutions to become a reality, we must give the community sector every tool we can.
All donations raised during the upcoming campaign will allow community agencies to keep meeting growing demand. Here are a few examples:
The number of households resorting to food assistance has exploded at the La Maison de quartier Villeray. 1,000 food baskets are being handed out each month compared to 200 at the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Housing committees are seeing an uptick in requests for help, as more and more families are overwhelmed by skyrocketing rents and a lack of housing. By itself, the Comité logement de Montréal-Nord responded to over 1,800 phone, email, Facebook-message, and in-person requests last year.
Some 2,300 hours of telephone intervention, in the form of friendly discussions, were carried out last year by Yellow Door with vulnerable or at-risk seniors. This represents an increase of 54% over the last year. Almost half of the seniors surveyed said they had no one to turn to. This is a component of the Generations program that matches university-aged youth with older adults to fight social isolation and its negative health effects.
Between 2019 and 2021, the number of meals on wheels delivered by the Santropol roulant rose from 22,900 to 33,900. In addition to its regular rate of $6 per meal, the agency also has a reduced social rate of $4.50 per meal for people with limited financial resources. This year, Santropol saw a major increase in the number of $4.50 meals ordered.
Faced with rising costs and without access to emergency funds from the health crisis, the Regroupement partage was only able to give out 5,000 backpacks to children for the 2022 school year, down from 7,000 in 2020 and 2021. Unfortunately, 5,000 children represent only 5% of those living in poverty in Montreal.