The West Island’s first-ever homeless shelter is set to open this winter, a much-needed resource for what many community leaders refer to as the invisible population.

“There’s big houses and boats and nice cars and there is all of that, but mixed in with that there are pockets around the West Island where there’s poverty,” said On Rock Community Services president Kim Reid.

Unlike downtown Montreal, where urban campsites are a constant visual reminder of the city’s homeless, the West Island’s homeless population is much less visible — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.