Dear friend,

These newsletters and the stories they contain are so important.

Together, we are seeing Montrealers stand up and help each other. We are seeing that during difficult times, Montreal helps Montreal. Whether it’s through a donation or a collaboration—positive and important change is constant, but we couldn’t do it without you.

Despite all the ups and downs of the pandemic, it has done one thing for us. It’s put a spotlight on hidden inequalities and suffering, clearly showing the challenges of those enduring poverty and homelessness. It’s also given us the chance to see clearly and make a case for what can be done.

It’s heartbreaking to see vulnerable people unable to utilize their potential. That’s why we’re more committed than ever to reimagining old systems and mending gaps wherever possible. Our goal is to offer a true continuum of care, including mental health services, addiction counselling and rent assistance. Everything that’s needed to help people stay off the street.

We’re so excited for what’s to come and even more thrilled to share this journey with you. Thank you for standing by us and investing in a Montreal we can all be proud of.

With appreciation,

Samuel Watts

CEO/Executive Director

You Offered Help Guiding Him Home

For years, Jason had a routine: work, party, sleep, repeat. Most of his friends grew out of the party stage… Jason didn’t. Then his daughter was born.

Cora was premature and within just a few hours, the doctors knew she wouldn’t make it. A genetic condition had prevented her organs from developing properly and she died that very same week.

Jason took her death very hard. When he heard they were having Cora, she became his purpose—a reason to improve his life and move forward. When she died, it felt like he had nothing. Even worse, everyone around them only seemed concerned for his wife.

“No one asked how I was doing,” says Jason.

“My daughter was everything to me and suddenly, she was gone. I felt really alone.” – Jason

Jason drank to cope. He started drinking before work and when his shift ended he would immediately go to the bar. Not too long after that, he even began drinking at work, hiding it in a water bottle so no one would notice.

When his boss caught him, they gave him a chance to get help. Instead, Jason quit. He didn’t want help, he was too caught up in his grief.

Despite all this, his wife gave birth to another baby girl: Samantha. But Jason was lost, sinking into a full-blown battle with addiction.

During this time, Jason was hired and fired from about 20 different jobs. By the time Samantha was born, the couple was barely hanging on, and more than behind on bills.

Finally, his wife made the hard decision to take their child and move in with her parents.

It comes as no surprise that Jason was soon evicted from their home. At 37-years-old, he was homeless. For a year, he jumped from shelter to shelter, begging, borrowing, and stealing to get his alcohol fix. Until he discovered his youngest brother was also living on the streets.

He quickly sought help, turning to Welcome Hall Mission for resources and support.

We’re proud to tell you that Jason has really hustled to repair his life. Today, he’s been sober for a little over a year, secured a job washing dishes in a kitchen, and even found a small apartment to rent.

His dream now is to one day reconnect with his daughter. And your generosity gave him the boost he so needed along the way. Thank you for making his story possible.

Reimagining Shelter, Health Care + Housing

After almost a year of operation, we closed the doors of Hotel Place Dupuis emergency shelter. Overflow services were officially transferred over to the Hotel Dieu Hospital, located at 3840 Rue Saint-Urbain. This location is now being operated by the CIUSS Centre-Sud, Welcome Hall Mission and Old Brewery Mission.

This site includes up to 150 places to stay, important health care resources, 24/7 accessibility for lodging and shelter and evaluations for permanent housing. Hotel Dieu welcomes anyone experiencing homelessness aged 18 and over, with accommodations for men, women, transgender people, people with limited mobility or pets and even couples.

First and foremost, we’re approaching homelessness as a health problem. Secondly, we’re focussing on the long-term goal of permanent housing.

Since it’s opening, Hotel Dieu has been at or close to capacity, with many referrals being made to internal health care resources and permanent housing resources. Thank you for helping make facilities like Hotel Dieu possible!

We’re So Thankful for Georges Laraque!

When the Montréal Canadiens were in the Stanley Cup playoffs, former player now turned vegan enthusiast, Georges Laraque, made a bet to eat a whole chicken if the team advanced to the finals!

A Twitter user inspired Laraque to modify the wager. This light-hearted bet soon transformed into a wonderful collaboration with Welcome Hall Mission. Together, we helped distribute over 3,000 vegan meals to shelters and people experiencing homelessness in Montreal!

Thanks to 91.9 Sports, 15 local vegan restaurants, and our chef Gabriel and his team. Special mentions include Mayor Valérie Plante, and the Grand Lodge of Quebec for their generous donation.

A true example of how Montreal comes together to help Montreal.