• John Jantak

Annual event will focus on homelessness and poverty in Vaudreuil-Soulanges


PHOTO COURTESY LA NUIT DES SANS ABRI DE VAUDREUIL-SOULANGES

Now in its 12th edition, the Nuit des Sans Abri raises awareness of the issues of homelessness and poverty in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region.

Residents from throughout Vaudreuil-Soulanges are invited to attend the upcoming 12th edition of the Nuit des sans abri, an annual event which highlights issues related to homelessness and poverty within the region. The event will be held at Parc Valois, 331 Avenue St. Charles in Vaudreuil-Dorion on October 19 from 6 p.m. until midnight.

Several community organizations dedicated to combating homelessness and poverty will be participating in the event, including Carrefour Jeunesse emploi, Centre d’action bénévole l’actuel, Comité Jeunesse de la Presqu’Île, École secondaire de la Cité‐des‐Jeunes, Hébergement la Passerelle, L’Aiguillage, L’Arc‐en‐ciel, le tournant, the City of Saint‐Lazare and Paroisse St-Michel.

Dealing with poverty

Lynn is a Youth Counsellor at Hébergement La Passerelle, a shelter in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region that provides temporary accommodations for women, with or without children, who are the victims of domestic violence. Due to the nature of her work, we are using only her first name for this story.

“It’s a multi-problematic world today. We all have different resources and clientele; however, most of our clients have to deal with the underlying issue of poverty and how it affects them,” said Lynn. “In Vaudreuil especially, it’s a booming area with nice houses being built. Unfortunately, people actually don’t believe homelessness exists in our territory which is why we have these resources.”

Homelessness

L’Aiguillage is a community organization that provides temporary shelter for people who are living in poverty and other services to help them find an apartment. Homelessness is not necessarily someone who is living on the street, Lynn said.

“That’s the stereotype. In Vaudreuil-Soulanges, the biggest issue is that we’re a transition territory. This means a lot of people who are trying to locate to Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto, they’re kind of ‘pit-stopping in’ our area,” she said.

“What we consider as homelessness is someone who changes addresses several times in the same year – someone who doesn’t have a stable roof over their heads. Homelessness is very present. It’s a big enough issue for us to have this event on our territory so that people know there are situations that exist in regards to poverty,” added Lynn.

Free activities

Almost 500 people attended the event last year and Lynn is hopeful there will be a similar turnout. “There will be a whole bunch of activities. Everything is free throughout the evening. There will be a camp fire, music, hot chocolate and soup and it will be held rain or shine. Unfortunately for someone who doesn’t have a home or roof over their head, it’s always rain or shine. That’s a reality,” said Lynn.

Interest in the annual event keeps increasing. “We’re seeing an important increase in participation from teens. They’re more interested and collaborating a lot more. The students at École secondaire de la Cité des Jeunes will be making a big pot of soup that we will serve free throughout the evening,” she said.

Musical entertainment

Musician Fabian Arbour will also be present providing entertainment. “He was super involved last year and wanted to contribute more of his time this year,” Lynn said. “He and his band collaborated on a song which they will perform at this year’s event.”

Lynn is encouraging people to attend, even if only for a couple of minutes, just to see what it’s all about.

For more information, visit the Facebook page at La nuit des sans-abri de Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

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