Encampments with one or more makeshift shelters have always existed in Quebec. However, in the last two years, these have become more visible and therefore more worrisome. Faced with this increase in the number of people using public space as a place to live, this document presents the evolution of the situation of encampments between March 1, 2020, and the beginning of January 2022, based on a review of media in Quebec. More specifically, it addresses the situation of the camps in Montréal as well as those on Joffre Bridge in Sherbrooke and on Ruisseau de la Brasserie in Gatineau. In all cities, people living in encampments organize themselves, and the strength of the group allows them to protect and support each other in times of need. However, municipal and governmental responses prevent them from coming together to meet their needs. As soon as people experiencing homelessness become visible and the number of structures becomes disruptive and more difficult to dismantle, authorities react quickly to put an end to their mutual support. This approach undermines the emergency response for people who do not use shelters.
This document was produced as part of a cross-Canada knowledge-sharing research project that was funded by the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate in order to improve public understanding of the reality of those living in encampments. Click here to read the full series.