In the Streets of Montreal

by The Nommz on March 10, 2015 - 12:30am

               Montreal is a city known for its festivals and grand displays of culture from all around the world. A city in which 3.5 million people call home, however there are some things which can often be overlooked. Quebec has the second highest percentage of Homeless people in Canada behind Ontario. Quebec being at 17.5% and Ontario being 46.9% of the estimated 300,000 homeless people in the country. Many of these people live within a line so entrenched in poverty it’s almost impossible for them to get out without external aid. That’s why it’s always heartening to see the Quebec government reinvesting funds to help fight poverty. According to Geoffrey Vondeville of the Montreal Gazette, the Quebec Government has renewed its investment of 9 million dollars to help combat poverty within the city. However with the over 30,000 estimated homeless in Montreal, it’s hard to image that the 9 million dollars will be sufficient to quell the problem. It is essential that population of the city of Montreal  bands together and raises not only awareness, but also for people to volunteer with non profit organizations which make it their mission to improve the lives of the less fortunate. Non profit organizations like “Dans la Rue” offer hope to young individuals who are homeless and who desperately need help with their current situation, giving them a fighting chance to make something more of themselves. Started in 1988 by Emmett Johns at the age of 60, the former priest was looking for a way to reach out with the city’s youth.  Starting with just a van he worked long nights to create something which the youth of the city could see as a refuge. “Dans la Rue” has maintained the goals set out by Emmett Johns A.K.A pops of teaching the philosophy of friendship, service, and respect. It offers services such as a Van, which travels around as the first line of contact for the homeless youth. The Bunker which offers 20 beds, and has a staff of highly trained counsellors ready to offer their services. “Dans la Rue” has over 130 volunteers in their service, but they are always looking for more donations to keep their operation running. To donate to “Dans la Rue” call (514) 526-5222 or volunteer at (




Likewise, I believe that homelessness is a serious issue in Montreal and many other Canadian cities. I find that the government is doing a good deed by investing $9 million dollars in the fight against homelessness. I have heard of Dans La Rue before, although I am more familiar with The Old Brewery Mission. Similarly to Dans La Rue, The Old Brewery Mission is an organization that aims to aid the homeless. This Mission began in 1889 when two kind Montreal women decided to serve warm meals to the homeless living outside in the cold winter conditions. Today, the organization serves the same purpose and has expanded to an unused indoor parking garage converted into a homeless shelter. This organization is also very welcoming to new volunteers. For more information about The Old Brewery Mission, please refer to their website provided below.

As you have said, Montreal has the highest percentage of homelessness, which is directly linked with hunger. NDG Food Depot is a non-profit organization that is trying to decrease the hunger by offering food baskets each month to people whom are unable to obtain food on their own. If you are interesting in helping reduce hunger, visit:

That is one great issue to shed light on. I completely agree that homelessness in Canada is a major problem however it is encouraging to know that there are some great foundations such as “Dans La Rue” to combat this issue.
I’d like to take the opportunity to shed light on the philosophical approach you seem to be intuitively taking. You seem to be taking a deontological approach to this issue as you are promoting helping the homeless simply because it is the right thing to do. Using a deontological perspective entails following universal maxims determined through ethical rationalism to make the most ethical decision. Helping the homeless seems to be following this idea.
However, not every philosophical ideology would support helping the homeless. As you mentioned there are 3.5 million people in Canada and only 300,000 of which are homeless. According to utilitarian, one should do the greatest good for the greatest number. The homeless, being a minority, would not be the greatest number in comparison with the rest of Canada and a utilitarian may argue that funds to support the homeless should go elsewhere to help the greater population.
It is important to occasionally look at other perspectives. Overall, great call to action at the end and I also hope that funds will continue to go to helping the homeless in Canada.

This post caught my attention because I never knew that Quebec was one the provinces that were extremely affected by this issue. You seem to believe that it is important for the population of Montreal to band together to help resolve the issue of homelessness. Someone who takes on the perspective of virtue ethics will definitely agree with you. Virtue ethics argues that to be moral we would act in the way a good person would act. A person is good if they embody certain positive characteristics. Aristotle characterizes these characteristics as "virtues." Some virtues include: generosity, courage, patience, etc. Aristotle would argue that it would be moral for the population of Montreal to bound together because that's the way a good person would act and would therefore be moral. People who are involved in raising awareness or funds for the homelessness, would be considered ethically moral because they are being generous by taking time out of their day to take part in certain organizations and are volunteering, without pay, to help those who are in need.

Homelessness is a serious issue in Québec, Montréal is specific. Therefore, it must be addressed to the population. This well written article completes that task in an intriguing fashion. However, the issue can not and should not be addressed by an increase of monetary support for the homeless. Unfortunately, funds need to be allocated in more efficient ways such as education. Moreover, an investment in education which will combat homelessness in the long run by creating an incentive for many to stay in school. Furthermore, a more accessible education will benefit lower income families of which the homeless tend to come from. In addition, the Québec government is in a period of austerity meaning that many sectors are receiving a cut from funding. Therefore, homelessness should follow suit and receive a cut from funding since there are better ways for public money to be spent during this period of austerity. Homelessness is a serious issue; however, the cure should depend on volunteers as well as NGOs rather than at the expense of other important public sectors such as education. Such actions will allow the Quebec government to focus on goals which benefit overall more people. The fact that it will help more people in the short and long run is a main reason to put money elsewhere this cash strapped utilitarian society.

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