Why should you pay attention to the housing crisis?

The 2020 federal budget was announced. Several groups called out the absence of a housing budget in Quebec, all while a housing crisis is in full swing, increasing rental prices and lowering the availability of social housing.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer published the funding allocated to each Canadian province for social housing last Wednesday. The total federal budget is approximately $ 5.8 billion. Unlike the other provinces, Quebec has still not obtained anything from this budget since negotiations are still underway. Faced with the current housing crisis, some are shocked at the time that Quebec is taking to reach an agreement with Canada regarding federal transfers allocated to social housing. According to the FRAPRU, the Quebec government seems to not take the urgency of the situation seriously.

In 2019, barely 835 social housing units were built in Quebec, some are campaigning to have access to more units. The FRAPRU and several protestors demand that the government allocates a larger fund for social housing and that it devotes in its budget, the funds necessary to 50,000 social housing over a period of 5 years. FRAPRU mentions that more and more real estate developers are targeting buildings where landlords pay lower rents, buy them and then resell the same place at a higher cost while leaving the tenants with no place to stay.

This is even more true for women. With an average salary 15% less than the one of men, they are in a precarious situation according to Valérie Giker Létourneau, spokesperson for the R of women’s centers in Quebec. The wage inequality from which they suffer puts them at risk of being poorly housed and of not being able to financially contest when they are evicted from a neighbourhood. This precariousness can become harmful and restrict a woman to stay in a dangerous environment. Louise Riendeau, spokesperson for the Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victims de conjugal violence, indicates that several women will remain in a violent relationship, for lack of housing resources available to them.

Despite the fact that Quebec has been criticized for not taking the situation seriously, the city of Montreal is trying to improve this urgent matter. Indeed, on February 17th, Montreal’s mayor announced that the city now had the priority right of refusal on properties that enter the market in key neighbourhoods in order to improve the situation of social housing. It is the first city in Quebec to hold this right. In short, this right would allow the city to target the properties to be used as social housing, the latter will have 60 days to decide if they will buy the land once it is available. The Plante administration has promised to create more than 12,000 new social housing units in Montreal.

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