November 3 2015
Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM) and the Société d'habitation populaire de l'Est de Montréal (SHAPEM) united in social action
(Photo: Jean-Pierre Racette, Director General of SHAPEM. Photo credit: Sylvie Trépanier)
The non-profit organization, Société d'habitation populaire de l'Est de Montréal (SHAPEM) is a privileged partner of the SHDM since the early 90s. In addition to managing 525 of SHDM’s rental dwellings, SHAPEM has, among other endeavours, participated in the rehabilitation of a building in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood that now houses a residence of the Maison Échelon organisation and apartments for the Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal.
The building acquired by the SHDM in 1990 was in very poor condition and with the wrong kind of people going there, had a vacancy rate of about 50%. "No sensible person wanted to go and live there," said Jean-Pierre Racette, Director General of SHAPEM. The renovation carried out by the SHDM and the partnership between the two organizations enabled, within less than five years, the revitalization of the building complex. The SHDM put her trust in us and was right in doing so” added Mr. Racette. The objectives of both partners are similar: to maintain the social diversity of Montréal’s neighbourhoods, offering quality, comfortable and affordable dwellings, but also to service the community and fight against social exclusion.
Thus, two major NPOs have settled in the building: the Maison l'Échelon in the eastern section of the building and the Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal, in the western section. For its part, Maison l’Échelon offers people with severe and persistent mental health problems 20 supervised apartments with psychosocial support, and social and educational leisure activities. Directly linked to the Agence de la santé et des Services Sociaux de Montréal, the organisation automatically takes in as residents, persons who are referred by the agency. On the other hand, the Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal provides shelter to 19 young men, in apartments with community support. Here the objective is to break the cycle of homelessness and provide tools for young people to regain their autonomy. In both cases, community spaces are available and tenants seem settled and content: "I love it here and I feel good" confided with the same words Cédric and Sylvie who respectively reside in the west and east sections of the complex.
As the owner, SHDM invests in major works. This spring, the kitchens of all the apartments were renovated and last year the wrought iron on the back of the building was completely repainted. SHAPEM, meanwhile, puts a lot of efforts into developing an innovative space for social action that residents can make their own. For Jean-Pierre Racette, the partnership with the SHDM is essential. "This way, we can join forces" he said.
The SHDM, expert in responsible property investment, is proud of this partnership which provides some housing options to two vulnerable populations in Montréal. Furthermore, SHDM congratulates the various psychosocial workers of Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal and Maison l’Échelon as well as SHAPEM’s team for their outstanding work.
About the Société d'habitation populaire de l'Est de Montréal (SHAPEM)
Established in 1988 in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, SHAPEM is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to participate in the urban revitalization of East-end Montréal, for the benefit of the community and in collaboration with economic and social agents. SHAPEM carries out housing projects and real estate projects for the local population, and provides quality housing to low- and middle-income households.
About Maison l'Échelon
Maison l'Échelon is a non-profit organization helping people with mental health problems. Its mission is to work on the quality of life of people living with mental health problems by giving them priority access to residential services.
About Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal
The Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal's mission is to provide assistance to young men, aged 17 to 25, who are struggling and homeless and to help improve their living conditions. The Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal night shelter and referral centre in Montréal; it also offers social housing with community support.
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