The construction of 263 affordable housing units in Montreal is planned by spring 2022 thanks to an investment of $ 56.8 million from the federal government.
The money was announced by Ottawa last fall as part of the Rapid Housing Creation Initiative, providing $ 1 billion for 3,000 new affordable housing units in Canada.
The 12 projects selected for Montreal include housing, studios and rooms, for so-called vulnerable clienteles, including people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.
“The second wave of the pandemic is underway, we need more affordable housing and we need it now,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canadian Minister of Social Development. The projects will also help to create jobs, he said.
The announcement made Thursday by representatives of the federal and provincial governments, as well as the City of Montreal, comes a few days after the death of a homeless person in Montreal, who had taken refuge at night, during the curfew, in a chemical toilet.
The Plateau and Ville-Marie
Almost half of the new units (45%) will be located in the Le-Plateau — Mont-Royal borough and a quarter (25%) in Ville-Marie. The remainder will be distributed among the following boroughs: Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (3%), Le Sud-Ouest (6%), Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (10%), Villeray-Saint- Michel-Parc-Extension (11%).
“For me as mayor of Montreal, but also as mayor of Ville-Marie, it is important to think about not concentrating all the resources in the same place, in the same borough, because the whole question of cohabitation social policy is to be taken very seriously, ”commented Valérie Plante.
“It was essential that the projects could get up to speed very soon, obviously for people experiencing homelessness. In the projects, we still have 100 new units for this specific clientele, ”said Andrée Laforest, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing of Quebec.
The Quebec government, for its part, is committed to financing the rent supplement for certain projects for 20 years, so that eligible tenants can spend 25% of their income on housing. “It is nevertheless an amount of over $ 23 million that the Government of Quebec is investing today,” said Ms. Laforest.
“We know that in terms of social housing the needs are very great,” said the Minister of Housing. “Yes, there is a delay from the past, I admit, we are trying to catch up with the past and I believe that we will get there with the new measures and the announcements that we are making together.”
The rent supplement is positively received by the Popular Action Front in Urban Reorganization (FRAPRU) and the Assistance Network for Single and Homeless People of Montreal (RAPSIM).
“However, it is a bit peculiar that Ottawa finances” the stone “, but did not initially provide funding to ensure truly affordable rents,” criticizes Véronique Laflamme, spokesperson for FRAPRU, considering that it this is one of the weaknesses of the federal program.
The creation of the 263 units is “good news”, in the eyes of Joannie Veilleux, community organizer at RAPSIM, even if the needs are much greater. “That being said, it is certain that the construction deadlines for organizations carrying projects are excessively short,” she points out.
The number of new units is not sufficient, according to Véronique Laflamme from FRAPRU. “It is certainly not enough if we look at the needs only to meet the urgent needs of people experiencing homelessness who need permanent housing.”
RAPSIM and FRAPRU regret that there is no funding announced in parallel for community support, in order to have interveners who can help people to stay in housing. “It is not enough to put a person in a dwelling to say: this person is no longer in a situation of homelessness, everything is beautiful, it’s over, we wash our hands of it”, explains Ms. Veilleux.
Examples of projects
- Chez Doris: transformation of a former bed and breakfast to offer 22 rooms to women from Indigenous, racialized or abused communities
- Maison du Père: purchase with the Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM) of an abandoned building to create 60 rooms for aging women and men
Number of projects and units by district
Le-Plateau-Mont-Royal: 3 projects / 119 units
Ville-Marie: 4 projects / 66 units
Villeray-Saint-Michel – Parc-Extension: 1 project / 29 units
Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve: 2 projects / 26 units
The southwest : 1 project / 15 units
Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce: 1 project / 8 units