I spent a few weeks this year near the Berri-UQAM Metro station on Rue Sainte-Catherine, heart of downtown Montreal. There are a LOT of homeless people. It reminds me of a major American city in that way.
One survey (Douglas Mental Health University / 800+ volunteers) counted 3,016 homeless in the city. 10% aboriginal. 10% immigrants. Veterans 6%.
Other guesstimates have been 10 times as high.
I was there during warmer months. During winter these folks need to find someplace heated.
A harsh and boring life, seems to me. They all seem to have cigarettes. Somehow.
Not sure what can be done to reduce the numbers. A guaranteed minimum income experiment — or new kinds of free housing — could be tried.
People on the trail are good. But I’m not much impressed with the interactions I have with Chileans in the towns and cities.
A currency exchange guy tried to give me only half my money one time. (I’ve seen scummy practice like this in Italy recently, too.)
The World Health Organisation (2013) says over 40% of Chileans smoke, compared with 27% of Argentines and 17% of people in Brazil, where curbs on smoking began in the late 1990s. Chile’s health minister, Jaime Mañalich, says that treating tobacco victims takes a quarter of the $10 billion public health-care budget.
Chile’s smokers are getting younger. According to the Tobacco Atlas, a study of the industry, nearly 40% of girls aged 13-15 in Santiago, Chile’s capital, smoke cigarettes. That is up from just 20% in 2003, and is the highest rate in the world. …
The population looks unhealthy. Walking the streets reminds me of walking in Mexico. A very high percentage of people are conspicuously overweight. This is new to these nations.