Centraide to target Laval’s poverty pockets

Centraide to target Laval’s poverty pockets

Laval Police Chief Pierre Brochet joins charity’s board of directors

By Robert Frank

Helping to relieve poverty on Île Jésus, where indigence increasingly has a non-francophone face, has been a growing priority for the region’s largest charity, Centraide (www.centraide-mtl.org).

“We started to notice in 2006 that there was rapid growth in the immigrant population in Laval,” the charity’s assistant director for allocation and social analysis Lyne Harris told The Suburban. “A lot of families came from a different cultural background. It was one in five residents then. Today, it’s one in four.”

“One in every two infants born there is to an immigrant mother,” she said in an interview. “That has changed the picture in Laval dramatically and has challenged anti-poverty organizations to adapt and improve their capacity to reach out and help in the best way that they can.”

Age distribution also skewed the demographics of Quebec’s third-largest city, she added.

“Youth and families were overrepresented,” Harris observed. “At the other extreme, there were lots of seniors. We decided that we had to find a way to work with other agencies to help families at risk and those from different backgrounds.”

Today, she said, Centraide reaches out a helping hand to 13 percent of Laval’s population. It invests more than $2.6 million through 28 agencies.

“We touch one in eight Laval residents,” Harris smiled. “We try to focus on areas such as Chomedey, Laval des Rapides and Pont Viau, where the level of poverty is much higher.”

“For example, we support Diapason Jeunesse, whose main goal is to help youth with academic challenges to remain in school,” she continued. “Another is Dauphin House, which focuses on helping youth from birth to age five. It provides integration workshops and helps parents to develop better relationships with their children.”

As part of its goal to involve decision makers with a wide variety of backgrounds in developing Centraide’s strategy, the charity named Laval Police Chief Pierre Brochet to its board of directors, June 16.

“Each year we have to decide where to invest and develop capacity in the community,” Harris said.

Centraide’s big fundraising push for the coming year will commence Oct. 2.
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Poverty much higher among non-francophones in Chomedey, Laval des Rapides and Pont Viau

Laval Police Chief Pierre Brochet
(Photo © Robert Frank)
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