A ceremony in honor of the homeless dead near a construction site

Dozens of people, including family members, gathered in Cabot Square on Monday to pay tribute to Elisapee Pootoogook, this homeless native who was found dead near a construction site.

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The body of the 61-year-old woman was found on the morning of November 13 near a construction site near the Atwater metro station and Cabot Square in the west of the Ville-Marie borough in Montreal.

Elisapee Pootoogook used to take refuge in the Atwater metro at night to warm up. This is what she was trying to do the day before her death since there was no more room in the shelters for Native women.



However, STM inspectors repeatedly chased him out of the entrance hall. She had therefore resigned herself to finding refuge on a construction site. She was found frozen dead the next morning.

On Monday, the community was still reeling from the tragedy.

“I want the aboriginal people, the Inuit, to get low-cost housing because it’s too expensive. That’s why they sleep outside. I pray for help. I don’t want us to lose other Inuit, aboriginal or white people. It’s going to be a cold and very difficult winter, ”said one of her cousins ​​present at the ceremony.

Elisapee Pootoogook had been in Montreal for about 8 years where she had come to receive treatment for meningitis, according to the Nunatsiaq News. But she quickly found herself on the streets. The lady also had alcohol problems.

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David Chapman, coordinator at Resilience Montreal, tried to help her since she seemed more fragile than usual last week.

“She could move very slowly. She was quite frail. Often his clothes were wet. It was dangerous for her outside and looking warm place to take refuge, ”he said.

His death is reminiscent of that of Raphaël André, also a native itinerant, who was found dead after taking refuge in a chemical toilet to hide from the police last winter.



Following Mr. André’s death, a temporary shelter was set up in Cabot Square, but its capacity is limited to 16 people so that health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be respected. In doing so, the shelter does not meet the real needs of these vulnerable people. The lack of accommodation is critical.

“I had a clientele of around 30 people. It has skyrocketed. Just last night, we received 483 people, ”notes Alexandra Ambroise, operations coordinator at the Cabot Square tent.

Quebec announced in October a plan of $ 280 million over five years. The mayoress of Montreal promises to double the budget reserved for homelessness, but with winter approaching, many are wondering when concrete solutions will finally be put forward.