The STM and its partners report positive results for the 2020-2021 winter plan in the métro network

Press release

The STM, the OBM, the SDS and the SPVM are reporting positive results for the 2020-2021 winter plan announced last fall - Photo credit : Mission Old Brewery/Christian Blais

Montréal, April 30, 2021 – The Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the Old Brewery Mission (OBM), the Société de développement social (SDS) and the Service de police de la ville de Montréal (SPVM) are reporting positive results for the 2020-2021 winter plan announced last fall.

“We are thrilled with these positive results in response to the action taken during the cold season, which was marked by lockdown and health measures imposed as a result of successive waves of COVID-19. This success is the result of the invaluable cooperation of all our partners, which include the SDS, the SPVM and the OBM,” says Philippe Schnobb, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the STM.

“Despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic, including the 8:00 p.m. curfew and the emergency beds that quickly filled up every night, our front-line teams showed tremendous resilience, patience and compassion. The Solidaribus, the result of a unique partnership between the Old Brewery Mission and the STM, was not only an essential service, but also a symbol of solidarity and hope. You couldn’t miss its bright colours. It allowed us to raise awareness of the need to find sustainable housing solutions for homeless people,” says James Hughes, President and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission.

“Joint measures with community partners help ensure better management of public spaces during the 2020‑2021 winter season. In addition, the collaboration between STM inspectors, police officers and social workers provides an opportunity for everyone to apply their respective skills and ensure a more integrated approach,” says Martin Petrarca, General Director of the SDS.

“The joint development of the 2020-2021 winter plan is clearly a winning formula. The outstanding coordination allowed our police officers to be more visible and have a greater presence in the métro. The addition of the Équipe métro d’intervention et de concertation (ÉMIC), which stems directly from this concerted approach, allowed us to reach out to homeless people,” says Sylvain Caron, Director of the SPVM.

Old Brewery Mission shuttle service

The Solidaribus and minibus shuttle service provides optimal use of the resources available to ensure safe transportation at night across a broad territory, while allowing users of these services to return to their respective areas the next day.

Since December 1, 2020, the OBM has completed nearly 17,000 safe trips, that is, approximately 12,000 with the Solidaribus and 5,000 with the minibus. The shuttle service, which will continue for another few weeks, transported homeless men and women across the city, to and from several organizations, temporary emergency shelters and métro stations. Passengers could ask to be taken to specific locations for the night, if there was still space available. These locations include the Ross Memorial Pavilion, the former Royal Victoria Hospital, Hôtel Place Dupuis, Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, the Hochelaga YMCA, Complexe Guy Favreau (a temporary resource managed by Projets Autochtones du Québec), La Maison Benoît Labre, the Port of Montréal’s Grand Quay, the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion, Chez Doris, Open Door, Resilience Montreal, Welcome Hall Mission, Maison du Père, Toit rouge, CAP St-Barnabé and CARE Montréal. The métro stations include Bonaventure, Lionel-Groulx, Guy-Concordia, Atwater and Place-des-Arts.

Managing public spaces

Since the beginning of the partnership with the STM in 2013, stakeholders committed to the project have carried out thousands of interventions together with station inspectors and staff, including outreach, support, referral and various other initiatives intended to help homeless people find concrete solutions to the challenges they face.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, many homeless people found themselves in public spaces without any resources. In an effort to deal with the situation, the SDS and STM agreed to ensure an increased presence of psychosocial/social workers in the métro by coordinating the efforts of four social workers during the day on weekdays and two additional social workers compared with the usual service offering. Some social workers are paired, while others work alongside a team of two STM inspectors. A second nighttime team (2:30 to 10:30 p.m.), which operates Monday to Friday, is composed of an SDS social worker and two STM inspectors. On the job from October 1 to April 30, these teams dedicated some 3,150 hours to the 2020‑2021 winter plan.

ÉMIC hybrid patrol

Made up of an SPVM officer, an STM inspector and an SDS social worker, the Équipe métro d’intervention et de concertation (ÉMIC) responds to a concrete need in the métro network and complements the multidisciplinary teams already in place. To that end, patrollers were able to carry out over 200 support initiatives, providing this vulnerable population with sustainable solutions. Since November 1, 2020, these teams have carried out some 110 interventions alongside inspectors and police officers in an effort to help resolve issues related to homelessness and mental health. Building on their success, the three organizations agreed to maintain ÉMIC activities.

This initiative was implemented to ensure métro users’ safety and help foster an ongoing sense of security. The MICT hybrid patrol’s mandate is to do outreach to connect with this clientele and direct them to appropriate services based on their needs.

SDS support for a social work internship with inspectors

In the past few months, some 15 STM inspectors and sergeants took part in a social work internship with SDS social workers in order to perform the same day-to-day duties in the métro as social workers. Leaving their uniform in their locker to take part in this activity gave inspectors a different perspective on the reality that social workers face when dealing with homeless people.

Press release for more information: The STM offers the Old Brewery Mission a bus for increased shuttle service this winter

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