Montreal: Tenters PROTEST impending shutdown of AIDS shelter FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 22:37:36 -0400


--============_-1300765830==_ma============
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Does anyone have an update on this protest?

http://www.montrealgazette.com:80/PAGES/981114/2018981.html
FWD  Montreal Gazette - November 14, 1998


TENTERS PROTEST SHUTDOWN

AIDS shelter says it will be forced
to close unless funding increased

Eileen Travers - The Gazette


A dozen campers shivered as they sipped cups of chicken soup outside a tent
on the lawn of the Montreal regional health board on St. Denis St.
yesterday.

Chez Ma Cousine Evelyn, the only AIDS shelter for homeless drug addicts,
organized the protest to announce that it will shut down next month if the
board fails to provide the funds needed to stay open.

"We'll stay here until we prove our point," said Luc Vincelette, a
counselor at Evelyn's.

Yesterday, drug addicts, counselors and AIDS hospice workers marked Day 4
of their campout, protesting that the health board is stalling the
announcement of its new budget. Eight other community groups joined the
campers and voiced concerns about their own financial future.

The current budget of $1.2 million for AIDS programs has been frozen for
three years, while the prevalence of AIDS has risen sharply among drug
users.

Evelyn's director Lise Ladouceur said the home, which houses nine
residents, cannot operate without a $200,000 increase in its $450,000
annual budget.

Inside the health board's offices, program director Rejean Pinard said the
board is trying to streamline AIDS programs instead of generating new
funds.

"Montreal has eight AIDS homes, and maybe we need three or four," he said.
"If houses are closed, money can be transferred to the others."

But Ladouceur slammed the board's tactics. "It's backstabbing," she said.
"We don't want to close one house to keep another open. The need is
growing."

On Tuesday at 11 a.m., the first tent pegs were jammed into the ground at
the health board. At 12:30 p.m., Pinard picked up the phone to call
Evelyn's, offering a $100,000 temporary grant to pay bills until April.

The home declined the board's offer. Instead, its 33 employees organized
four-hour-long shifts to man the tent around the clock.

"The problems we're facing have become too heavy," said Pierre Matteau, a
counselor at Evelyn's.

HIV or AIDS prevalence among intravenous-drug-users rose from 0.3 per cent
in 1987 to 6.3 per cent in 1993, health-board figures show. Last year,
between 20 and 25 per cent of drug-injectors had HIV or AIDS, according to
a St. Luc Hospital study.

Sharing needles is part of the reason for the numbers. Last year, the
Cactus  needle exchange distributed 400,000 syringes, mirroring a growing
number of new users, said director Marianne Tonnelier.

A budget of $182,000 pays salaries for seven Cactus employees. Tonnelier
has requested a new budget of $250,000 to hire more workers to deal with
the increase of clients. She has been waiting for the health board decision
since September.

"If Evelyn's closes, we won't have a place to send our clients," she said.
"Yesterday, kids who were 15 or 16 years old came to Cactus to exchange
their first syringes. We need more funds to deal with this new clientele
and prevent more youths from shooting drugs."

After a few hours outside the health board, the supporters left for warmer
places. But a contingent of Evelyn staff members remained.

Raymond Page, 46, handed out pamphlets to pedestrians yesterday before
returning to Evelyn's. He is one of nine formerly homeless people who live
at the three-storey graystone on Ste. Famille St.

Page had lived on the streets since 1974 until he got his room seven months
ago. He can visit a psychologist, get help finding an apartment or get drug
treatment. At the home's nursing station, he takes pills to treat his HIV
infection.

"I don't have AIDS yet," he said, "but I want to try to die with a roof
over my head and three meals a day. If this place closes, I have three
choices: the hospital, prison or the street."

Roger LeClerc, president of the Quebec coalition of community groups
fighting AIDS, represents 17 homes for patients.

"Evelyn's is a jewel," he said. "We need more of them, not less."

END FORWARD
-
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
ARCHIVES  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN
TO JOIN  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <wgcp@earthlink.net>
--============_-1300765830==_ma============
Content-Type: text/enriched; charset="us-ascii"

Does anyone have an update on this protest?


http://www.montrealgazette.com:80/PAGES/981114/2018981.html

FWD  Montreal Gazette - November 14, 1998



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>TENTERS PROTEST SHUTDOWN


AIDS shelter says it will be forced

to close unless funding increased


Eileen Travers - The Gazette

</paraindent>


A dozen campers shivered as they sipped cups of chicken soup outside a
tent on the lawn of the Montreal regional health board on St. Denis St.
yesterday. 


Chez Ma Cousine Evelyn, the only AIDS shelter for homeless drug
addicts, organized the protest to announce that it will shut down next
month if the board fails to provide the funds needed to stay open. 


"We'll stay here until we prove our point," said Luc Vincelette, a
counselor at Evelyn's. 


Yesterday, drug addicts, counselors and AIDS hospice workers marked Day
4 of their campout, protesting that the health board is stalling the
announcement of its new budget. Eight other community groups joined the
campers and voiced concerns about their own financial future. 


The current budget of $1.2 million for AIDS programs has been frozen
for three years, while the prevalence of AIDS has risen sharply among
drug users. 


Evelyn's director Lise Ladouceur said the home, which houses nine
residents, cannot operate without a $200,000 increase in its $450,000
annual budget. 


Inside the health board's offices, program director Rejean Pinard said
the board is trying to streamline AIDS programs instead of generating
new funds. 


"Montreal has eight AIDS homes, and maybe we need three or four," he
said. "If houses are closed, money can be transferred to the others." 


But Ladouceur slammed the board's tactics. "It's backstabbing," she
said. "We don't want to close one house to keep another open. The need
is growing." 


On Tuesday at 11 a.m., the first tent pegs were jammed into the ground
at the health board. At 12:30 p.m., Pinard picked up the phone to call
Evelyn's, offering a $100,000 temporary grant to pay bills until April.



The home declined the board's offer. Instead, its 33 employees
organized four-hour-long shifts to man the tent around the clock. 


"The problems we're facing have become too heavy," said Pierre Matteau,
a counselor at Evelyn's. 


HIV or AIDS prevalence among intravenous-drug-users rose from 0.3 per
cent in 1987 to 6.3 per cent in 1993, health-board figures show. Last
year, between 20 and 25 per cent of drug-injectors had HIV or AIDS,
according to a St. Luc Hospital study. 


Sharing needles is part of the reason for the numbers. Last year, the
Cactus  needle exchange distributed 400,000 syringes, mirroring a
growing number of new users, said director Marianne Tonnelier. 


A budget of $182,000 pays salaries for seven Cactus employees.
Tonnelier has requested a new budget of $250,000 to hire more workers
to deal with the increase of clients. She has been waiting for the
health board decision since September. 


"If Evelyn's closes, we won't have a place to send our clients," she
said. "Yesterday, kids who were 15 or 16 years old came to Cactus to
exchange their first syringes. We need more funds to deal with this new
clientele and prevent more youths from shooting drugs." 


After a few hours outside the health board, the supporters left for
warmer places. But a contingent of Evelyn staff members remained. 


Raymond Page, 46, handed out pamphlets to pedestrians yesterday before
returning to Evelyn's. He is one of nine formerly homeless people who
live at the three-storey graystone on Ste. Famille St. 


Page had lived on the streets since 1974 until he got his room seven
months ago. He can visit a psychologist, get help finding an apartment
or get drug treatment. At the home's nursing station, he takes pills to
treat his HIV infection. 


"I don't have AIDS yet," he said, "but I want to try to die with a roof
over my head and three meals a day. If this place closes, I have three
choices: the hospital, prison or the street." 


Roger LeClerc, president of the Quebec coalition of community groups
fighting AIDS, represents 17 homes for patients. 


"Evelyn's is a jewel," he said. "We need more of them, not less."


END FORWARD

-

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

--============_-1300765830==_ma============--