Homeless man dies in front of shelter closed due to lockdowns

A homeless man in Montreal has been found dead just metres from a homeless shelter which could not house him because of the coronavirus lockdowns.

Montreal police say that Raphaël André, a 51 year-old Innu man, was found dead Sunday morning at the corner of Milton Street and Parc Avenue. Foul play is not suspected.

André’s body was found steps from The Open Door, a Montreal drop-in centre where he was a frequent visitor. He was at the centre the night before.

Executive Director Mélodie Racine told CBC that current lockdown rules meant that they had to close their doors at 9:30 p.m. and they were legally required to ask him to leave. 

“He didn’t die for one reason. There are a lot of factors in place. But what I know is that if he was not asked to leave, he would have probably stayed inside,” she said.

“It’s ridiculous. I have a space that is empty at night while there are people sleeping outside.”

On Jan. 8, the province of Quebec entered a four-week lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus. There is a curfew across the province from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and nearly all public and private gatherings are banned.

Many Quebecers have faced serious penalties for disobeying lockdowns, one family was fined $3,100 when they were caught driving home past curfew.

In just the first few days of the curfew, over 750 people were fined.

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