At 11:00 a.m. this morning, signs reaffirming the urgency of funding social housing were posted around the offices of Minister Chantal Rouleau, Provincial Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region, in Pointe-aux-Trembles. As the Quebec government prepares its next budget to be presented in March, the Comité logement Rosemont, Infologis de l'Est de l'Île de Montréal and the Comité BAILS want to draw attention to the crying need for social housing in the East end of the Island of Montreal. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the plight of the poorest of the poor has worsened, and the provincial government is far from its promises to build social housing.

In Canada, no social housing has been built for more than 25 years. However, 36,548 households are on waiting lists for housing authorities, some of them for as long as a decade. To these households must be added those waiting for co-op or non-profit housing. In September 2018, Premier François Legault made a commitment to deliver during his mandate 15,000 social housing units promised by governments over the past 10 years, but not yet built due to a lack of sufficient subsidies. Two years later, only 2600 of them are inhabited and the caquiste government has not yet invested in new social housing programs, a first in 20 years.
"In addition to the existing crisis, COVID-19 has highlighted the dramatic health consequences of poor housing. People living in substandard and overcrowded housing suffer from confinement and have no alternative, given the shortage of social housing," recalls Marine G. Armengaud, community organizer on the BAILS committee. "We have to make sure that people living in poor and overcrowded housing have access to adequate health care. "Already before the current crises, in Hochelaga Maisonneuve, 12,000 tenant households were in core housing need because they were paying too much, living in too small a unit and/or in poor condition. "

Recalling that Minister Andrée Laforest has repeatedly stated that housing is a priority for her government, the Comité logement Rosemont, Infologis de l'Est de l'Île de Montréal and the Comité BAILS and FRAPRU, of which they are members, hope for a clear signal in favour of social housing in the next budget of the Legault government. To respond to the crying needs, they are asking for the addition of all the necessary sums to finally complete the financing of the 12,500 social housing units budgeted by previous governments, but still not built.  The Coalition avenir Québec is committed to delivering these housing units within its first mandate.
The organizations are also calling for a large construction site of 50,000 social housing units in 5 years. Of this number, 10,000 social housing units could be built for the needs of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

Main claims:

  • Sufficient investment to build at least 50,000 social housing units in 5 years, half of which in low-rent housing;
  • 450 million to guarantee the rapid construction of the 12,400 social housing units already planned but not yet built.

FRAPRU also demands :

  • 1 billion to renovate, or even re-let, the 15,000 low-rent housing units in Quebec that are currently in poor or very poor condition;
  • All the investments required to achieve the objectives of the National Homelessness Policy "Together to avoid and get off the streets";
  • 30 million per year to ensure community support in social housing projects for households with special needs (e.g. seniors, (ex-) homeless people, people with health problems, etc.);
  • A substantial increase in social assistance benefits to ensure that people on social assistance have enough money to meet all of their basic needs.