Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

She is asking the government for $150 million to build student residences and finance innovative initiatives to meet the “urgent” needs of CEGEP students, who are struggling to find housing affordable everywhere in Quebec.

Housing: the Cégeps Federation launches an offensive

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Collège d'Alma had to show originality to accommodate all its students, because the municipality has a vacancy rate for its housing by 0.3%. (Archive photo)

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The CEO of the Federation of cégeps, Bernard Tremblay, raise your voice towards the government.

There is an emergency, we must act! he says. This is the first year where we feel that the problem is so glaring in terms of student housing, and not only in certain regions, but everywhere in Quebec!

The Fédération des cégeps is in the midst of meetings and political representations to ensure that the issue of student housing will not go unnoticed in the next provincial budget.

It is the accessibility of post-secondary studies that is at stake, recalls Mr. Tremblay. We risk having dropout issues and that worries us a lot.

An investment of $150 million is needed from the government, he believes. One hundred million must be devoted to the construction and renovation of student residences and an additional 50 million could support the development of a set of innovative initiatives to help in the short term to alleviate the need for student housing.

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Bernard Tremblay, president -general director of the Fédération des cégeps

The goal is to change things before the next school year.

A quote from Bernard Tremblay, president and CEO of the Fédération des cégeps

Mr. Tremblay suggests taking inspiration from certain CEGEPs who have dared to think outside the box.

Loading<em>Icon of the Seas</em> : navigate the quiet river of overconsumption

ELSE ON INFO: <em>Icon of the Seas</em> : navigate the quiet river of overconsumption

For example, at Collège d'Alma, in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, a resource was hired throughout the last summer in order to match the needs of students with the supply of available accommodation.

The idea was to offer them direct support to help them find housing, explains Frédéric Tremblay, the CEGEP's communications coordinator.

We must deploy a lot of effort, originality and imagination to succeed in housing our students.

A quote from Frédéric Tremblay, communications coordinator at Collège d 'Alma

In particular, they concluded a partnership with a nearby seminary to temporarily welcome around twenty foreign students upon their arrival in September.

The important arrival growth of foreign students is putting pressure on the region's rental market. We have a perfect storm with a housing vacancy rate of 0.3%, which makes it difficult for us to accommodate our students.

The Cégep de Thetford, for its part, has rented apartments around the CEGEP, including those of a former residence for the elderly which currently houses 24 students, confides Sandy Huard, the director of administrative services at the CEGEP.

It was thanks to several acrobatics that she managed to accommodate all the students, because the five student residences of the CEGEP were at maximum capacity at the start of the fall session.

We have around a hundred international students and 300 sports students who arrive from elsewhere, explains Ms. Huard, before adding that some of their techniques are only offered in some CEGEPs, which attracts students from everywhere.

Our pool of local students is shrinking. We had to be original to find students elsewhere. But that means we have to find accommodation for these students, she explains.

Additional government assistance would be welcome , adds the one who would very much like to be able to pay an employee to help students find accommodation and ensure the reception and integration of international students at CEGEP.

In Alma, additional funding from the government is crucial for their student residence project to see the light of day, explains Frédéric Tremblay.

If we want to work for the future of Quebec and to meet our labor needs, we must act now and inject money where it is needed.

A quote from Frédéric Tremblay, communications coordinator at Collège d'Alma

Initiatives and solutions to be prioritized, according to the Fédération des cégeps :

Laurence Mallette-Léonard, president of the Quebec College Student Federation, 100% supports the request of the Fédération des cégeps, which it considers realistic and consistent with the needs of students.

She finds the idea of ​​hiring resources to help students looking for accommodation very interesting. It’s an initiative that would be very well received by the student population, she confirms.

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Laurence Mallette-Léonard has been president of the Quebec College Student Federation since July 2023.

The message that must be sent to the government is that it is urgent, that we need more student accommodation sooner rather than later .

A quote from Laurence Mallette-Léonard, president of the Quebec College Student Federation

Ms. Mallette-Léonard and Bernard Tremblay, from the Fédération des cégeps, point out that they are still waiting for tax relief to be granted to CEGEPs in order to open the door to affordable student residence projects on a non-profit model, as proposed by the Work Unit for the Implementation of Student Housing (UTILE), and as promised by the Minister of Higher Education, Pascale Déry.

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