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Some of the asylum-seekers who have recently crossed the Canada-U.S. border say they're struggling to find a place to live once they leave government-run temporary shelters. Ahmed Iftikhar, 42, says he walked across the border from New York in late July with his wife and four children. Since then, he says they've been moved from one temporary shelter to another: first a hotel, then the Olympic Stadium, and now a former convent in the city's Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough.
Asylum-seekers are generally expected to leave the shelters once they receive their first social assistance cheques, but several who spoke to The Canadian Press say that's easier said than done.
Another asylum-seeker, who gave his age as 30 but did not want to give his name, said he crossed the border last week with $34 dollars in his pocket.
He says he's passed through 11 countries since leaving his native Haiti three years ago and decided to take a chance on a new life in Canada. He said he's supposed to leave the shelter and find a new place to live by Aug. 20, but without a phone he isn't sure how to find an affordable apartment, or a lawyer to help with his claim.
Six hundred or $700 dollars isn't a lot to eat with, to sleep with," he said outside a creole restaurant a block from the shelter where he's been staying.
Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 alone, 1,798 people showed up at an unofficial crossing from the U.S. into Quebec.
In comparison, only 2,920 claims were filed in Quebec in all of 2015.
So far the numbers show no sign of slowing.