New measures implemented Autonhomme addresses community’s concerns

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – As a sequel to their first open house event held in July, Autonhomme Pontiac held a second information night, November 22 at the RA Hall, to explain and answer questions about the services they offer and how they operate. About 30 people attended.

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – As a sequel to their first open house event held in July, Autonhomme Pontiac held a second information night, November 22 at the RA Hall, to explain and answer questions about the services they offer and how they operate. About 30 people attended.
Autonhomme offers temporary lodging and services to those suffering from mental illness or controlled addictions, those who are having problems at home, and more. A maximum of four people can stay at the facility at one time, for up to six months. The organization received $95,000 in April of this year from the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) to install the temporary accommodations.
Autonhomme Director Tyler Ladouceur began by explaining the screening process each candidate goes through before becoming a resident, which includes a background and criminal record check, meetings with the referring councillor (if applicable) and the client, an inventory of any medications, etc. Those found guilty of any sexual offence are not accepted. “Our goal isn’t to fill up our centre, it’s to help people and find the best place to address their needs. If we can’t help them, we look for somewhere that can,” said Ladouceur.
Since their first open house, Autonhomme has implemented new measures and changes. “We revised and reviewed our operations because of the last meeting but also because we have been open longer,” said Ladouceur. Since the July meeting, a structured smoking area was created, a six camera surveillance system and exterior lights were installed outside, and extra steps have been taken for criminal record verification. Autonhomme also created an email address (vjonesau onhommepontiac@yahoo.com) for residents wishing to express any complaints.
“If I don’t know or hear about problems, I can’t fix them,” stressed Ladouceur.
Some of the attendees expressed concern that the centre’s 10 pm curfew
is too late. “10 pm is already strict compared to similar centres,” replied Ladouceur.  “These people are free; they aren’t in prison,” he added.
Another person asked why residents are not accompanied by a centre worker at all times. “One-on-one surveillance of each resident is impossible. If a person requires one-on-one surveillance, they wouldn’t be at our centre,” explained Ladouceur.
In response to a comment about having centre workers wear clearly identifiable uniforms to distinguish them from Autonhomme clients, Ladouceur explained it is against the law to do so [by identifying the workers, the clients are also identified which reduces the anonymity of the services], but workers have their badges displayed on their clothing at all times.