Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Shelters for women victims of violence are too expensive, says Minister Duranceau

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France-Elaine Duranceau, Minister of Housing in François Legault's government, affirms that the costs of construction projects for shelters for women victims of violence must be revised downwards so as to respect the ability to pay of taxpayers. (Archive photo)

  • Anne Marie Lecomte (View profile)Anne Marie Lecomte

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The costs of house construction projects to accommodate women victims of violence “are too high,” according to Quebec Housing Minister France-Élaine Duranceau, who says she asked the Société d'habitation of Quebec to look at it “from another angle”.

A week after associations of shelters for women victims of violence criticized François Legault's government for delays and inconsistencies which delay or completely put an end to projects to build such houses in the province, the minister Duranceau summed up the problem in these terms on Thursday: the costs are too high.

During a press scrum in the corridors of the National Assembly, the Minister of Housing said she was aware of the particularities of the projects to build shelters for women and their child victims of violence. She says she asked the Société d'habitation du Québec (SHQ) to look at the situation from another angle.

One ​​of the criticisms formulated by the accommodation house associations targets the SHQ, which they accuse of treating said projects as of social housing, when in fact they require perfect security, common and private spaces, offices for employees, facilities for children, etc.

Thursday, France-Élaine Duranceau said she wanted to ensure that we respond to the needs of women and that we evaluate what it costs and what it should cost.

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In response to Liberal MP Brigitte Garceau who, on Thursday, challenged the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government to assess how much the life of a woman victim of violence cost, the Minister of x27;Habitation retorted that there was no value, no price on someone's life. That's not the question.

The question is #x27;is to bring out housing, both for vulnerable women and for our entire population who need housing.

A quote from France-Élaine Duranceau

We must ensure that these projects see the light of day within budgets that are reasonable, she insisted. Taxpayer money is not infinite.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Quebec have joined forces voices, Thursday, to those of the associations in order to press the government of François Legault to accelerate the construction of these new shelters.

According to three groups that oversee shelters, the creation of more than 600 places is in jeopardy due to a considerable number of pitfalls caused by the inconsistency of funding programs, as described by Maud Pontel, coordinator of the Alliance of 2nd stage shelters (MH2).

It ends in a hubbub between three ministries which do not seem to speak the same language, she decries.

For the deputies of the opposition Brigitte Garceau, Ruba Ghazal and Joël Arseneau, the Legault government broke the commitment it made in April 2021, when a wave of feminicides hit Quebec, as did the government. recalled Mr. Arseneau of the Parti Québécois (PQ).

The Minister of Public Security at the time, Geneviève Guilbault, had made announcements, declared the member for Îles-de-la-Madeleine. However, three years later, while people on the ground set up projects to open shelters, the government today seems to have made another call.

MP Garceau, of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), for her part, delivered a plea in favor of members of shelter associations who have, in certain cases, she said, incurred debts in their personal name to set up these house projects. It's inconceivable and aberrant, she protested, saying she was making it [her] personal fight.

Ruba Ghazal, from Québec solidaire, is calling for Minister Duranceau to unblock the projects by decree. It's already been done, she says.

Among the construction projects that are compromised, two of them are in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The Alternative pour Elles house in Rouyn-Noranda and the L'Émeraude house in La Sarre claim to have been asked by the SHQ to review their construction projects to reduce costs.

In the case of Alternative pour Elles, this second stage house project was very close to the goal, since its team was at the stage of signing the contract with a general contractor, according to its coordinator.

At the beginning of February, two ministers from the Legault government, Martine Biron and Chantal Rouleau, respectively responsible for the Status of Women and Social Solidarity and Community Action, inaugurated the Maison Gisèle-Pomerleau, in the x27;east of Montreal. This second stage house offers affordable and safe transitional housing to women struggling with a violent ex-partner, after their stay in a first stage support and accommodation house.

It is especially this type of house that is in the government's pipeline, Minister Biron explained on Thursday, who said she was convinced that a way to finance them would be found to bring the projects currently on the table to fruition. . We promised it and we will do it, she assured.

But Minister Biron added that it was normal, in a context where the cost of living is increasing, to question the costs that these projects entail.

In the case of the Rouyn-Noranda project, she cited, they [the coordinators] knew that it was difficult the amount they had and they did their job.

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