COURTESY FACEBOOK PAGE OF MARC MILLER – MINISTER OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIR
A few weeks after the Quebec government’s funding announcement, it was Ottawa’s turn to invest $3.6 million towards Resilience Montreal. This money was put towards purchasing and renovating a building that will serve as a day centre for Onkwehón:we people experiencing homelessness.
On Monday, March 8, Indigenous Services minister Marc Miller disclosed the federal contribution during an online press conference. The money matched the previously announced $3.6 million by the provincial government on February 22, bringing the total amount of funding for the newest building of the day shelter located in downtown’s Cabot Square to $7.2 million.
“The future is really bright,” said Nakuset, Resilience Montreal co-manager and director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal.
“Indigenous people have often been displaced since the settlers arrived. We are giving our people something strong and solid: a home that is going to be there. A fixed location that is paid and will be beautiful,” she said. “That gives us a little bit of rest.”
Nakuset explained that she needed close to $8 million to secure the sale and renovations of the building. She will continue to look for the remaining funding in the upcoming weeks to ensure that her vision becomes a reality.
Nakuset has been working in the field for over 20 years and has been overwhelmed to see communities’ donations in fastening a fixed location for the homeless population. She said she has never heard of any other organization in Montreal juggling the same amount of money that both governments have provided for Resilience.
“The idea that the building will be paid off is insane,” she said. “Now, we are rent-free. Even where I am with the Native Women Shelter, we still have to pay a mortgage.”
The additional funding will go towards hiring various experts who are empathic and understanding, as well as able to handle the intensive workload. These employees will help foster an environment where Onkwehón:we people experiencing homelessness in the city will feel like they have options, and a home.