Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Housing crisis: QS demands a plan from the Legault government

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Québec solidaire underlines that the increase in the number of homeless people is directly linked to the housing crisis.

The Canadian Press

Quebec is experiencing a marked increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness (New window) and the lack of housing is contributing to this. Faced with the glaring problems linked to homelessness, Québec solidaire (QS) is asking the Legault government to present a joint strategy on homelessness and housing for 2024.

In a statement released Sunday morning, QS said aid resources alone cannot solve the homelessness crisis. He emphasizes that we see camps almost everywhere in Quebec and that there is a lack of places in shelters.

The political party reports encampments in cities such as Joliette, Drummondville, Granby, Trois-Rivières, Rouyn-Noranda and Saint-Georges.

In the big centers, it exploded. Places where there was once homelessness, there is still it today, but it is growing. The cases reported in the media and reported to us by [municipal] elected officials are more and more numerous and more and more worrying.

A quote from Étienne Grandmont, solidarity deputy for Taschereau

Mr. Grandmont mentions that the increase in the number of homeless people is directly linked to the housing crisis, which the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has allowed to worsen, according to him.

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He therefore asks the Minister of Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, and the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, to remedy this situation by presenting a joint action strategy on homelessness and housing.

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Étienne Grandmont, member of Québec solidaire in the constituency of Taschereau (Archive photo)

According to Mr. Grandmont, facilitating the construction of private housing, as proposed by Minister Duranceau, is not a solution.

That's what she's trying to achieve with her Bill 31, but that won't meet the needs. It is not by increasing supply that, magically, we provide solutions to people experiencing homelessness.

A quote from Étienne Grandmont, solidarity MP for Taschereau

Quebecers in precarious situations need to be supported and private sector housing is often not accessible to them, explains the supportive MP. He also considers that the investments proposed by Ms. Duranceau for the creation of social housing are largely insufficient.

In its 2023-2024 budget, the government had announced an investment of $650 million to increase and maintain the stock of social and affordable housing.

More recently, Ms. Duranceau announced that 1,000 additional affordable housing units could be built as part of the Quebec Affordable Housing Program, the latest call for projects of which is #x27;runs from June to September 2023.

According to the most recent data from the Department of Health and Social Services on homelessness, the number of people who are visibly homeless – the most common form of homelessness, i.e. say people who live on the street or in shelters – increased from 5,789 in 2018 for all of Quebec to 10,000 people as of October 2023.

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The number of homeless people has jumped in several regions of Quebec. (File photo)

In its 2022 report entitled Homelessness in Quebec: Second portrait, the Ministry of Health and Social Services recognizes that there is a link between the housing crisis and homelessness.

The issues linked to the commodification of housing and real estate speculation, which reduce the availability of affordable housing, waiting lists for social and affordable housing, core housing needs, the rate effort (share of income) devoted to paying rent and evictions can be considered as determinants of homelessness.

A quote from Extract from the report “Homelessness in Quebec – Second portrait »

Mr. Grandmont said the government always offers emergency amounts when temperatures start to drop. We have to move away from this logic of emergency when winter arrives, he says.

What we want is that eventually, after a few weeks or months, we will be able to identify them, support them, and build a bond of trust with them. them, that we gradually lead them to regain confidence to gently lead them towards housing and reintegration, describes Mr. Grandmont. It's not just in the fall and early winter that you should start doing this.

The supportive MP believes that Minister Carmant's investments are insufficient to respond to the homelessness crisis. He asks that annual funding be devoted to homelessness assistance resources.

He also wants investments in housing transitional housing and housing that meets the specific needs of homeless people.

We need an answer that goes beyond simple shelters, a much more ambitious solution.

A quote from Étienne Grandmont, solidarity MP for Taschereau

Homelessness also constitutes a public health problem, according to the solidarity MP, particularly due to related overdoses to homelessness. He thinks that the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, should be among those who will implement a strategy.

Mr. Grandmont hopes that the CAQ will propose solutions to the homelessness crisis in Bill 31 as well as in the next budget. Because we are letting a situation rot which, tomorrow morning, will not be any better. It's not going to be resolved like magic: we're currently in a vicious circle and we need to get out of that, he pleads.

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