Photo: Olivier Zuida The Duty
The virus has not only immersed in the precariousness of many families, but also complicated greatly the search of apartments.
Just a month before the 1st of July, the City of Montreal calls for the quebec government five million dollars to help deal with a housing crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.
“We can’t do it alone “, has launched the mayor Valérie Plant at a press conference Wednesday, the waltz moves from 1 July completely turned upside down by the COVID-19.
His administration ” may not be the only one responsible to find solutions. The difficulty of housing is increasingly a fact noticed in all the cities “, she added.
Even before the health crisis, Montreal was already on “towards a housing crisis,” insisted Mrs. Plant, recalling that the vacancy rate on the island — which is the proportion of available housing is at a historic low (1.6 per cent). Not to mention the price of rent continues to increase. Result : the City was prepared to go to 150 to 200 vulnerable households this year, “two to three times more” than last year.
But with the COVID-19 on the arm, ” it could be more than double that “, believes the head of the housing within the executive committee, Robert Beaudry, even if it is still ” very embryonic.” The virus has not only immersed in the precariousness of many families, but also complicated greatly the search of apartments.
So far, 144 households worried about ending up on the street have contacted the 311. Among them, 11 have been supported by the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal (OMHM) for help to find a roof. “And it is not yet in June. The needs are greater than ever, ” said Mr. Beaudry.
The City has therefore decided to double the size of the OMHM, which also provides temporary housing for tenants in need, the storage of their goods and, in some cases, rent assistance. “We think about the possibility of the requisition of hotels to accommodate families “, explained Valérie Plant.
A committee including community partners and representatives of the owners and tenants dream for a few months solutions for 1 July. They meet every two weeks.
Robert Beaudry has also invited the owners montrealers to show ” solidarity “. Those who have vacant homes waiting to be renovated, for example — or who intend to rent on Airbnb should hand them over to the market, ” he said. “We need all available housing. “
The elect has also asked to agree with the tenants that have not renewed their lease, but have not found a new roof due to the pandemic.
On the ground
With the emergency fund of five million Quebec city, Montreal thinks it can mop up all of the costs to support its homeless families. Discussions are ongoing with the ministry of municipal Affairs and Housing, said Valerie Plant.
His administration has also asked the government Legault to increase the ceiling of grant from the Program of rent supplement (PBUH), ” to respond to the situation in montreal.”
The Consolidation of the committees on housing and tenant associations of Quebec (RCLALQ), we are pleased that the City is on the alert, taking “seriously” the seriousness of the housing situation in the metropolis. “But where the shoe pinches, is that it relies on the government for more resources, shade the spokesman Maxime Roy-Allard. What will happen if Quebec does not respond favorably ? “
It asks precisely whether Quebec will be ready to help the cities of the province in which the low vacancy rate is a concern, particularly in Gatineau (1.5 %) and Sherbrooke (2.3 per cent). Due to the pandemic, their finances are already strained, ” he said.
The RCALQ also hope that the government caquiste unlocks more units of emergency PSL this year, in Montreal, as elsewhere. And most importantly, that it does not have to wait to the week before the period of moving, to do as last year, notes Mr. Roy-Allard.
An opinion that is shared by Véronique Laflamme, of the Front of popular action in urban redevelopment (FRAPRU). It is, however, remained on his hunger during the press conference.
“We would have liked to know the whole plan of Montreal with a view of the 1st July, not only the major lines “, she says, while time is running out. The anxiety of an upcoming move are still high for many low-income households, it is by example, who cannot arrogate to themselves the services of professionals.
The FRAPRU is also hoped that the improvement measures announced on Wednesday will come quickly on the ground. “Experience — and it’s been several 1st July, I live —, help for the shelter or storage of the furniture is always offered at the last minute. “
Social housing, and quickly
The mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante, pressed Wednesday, Quebec city and Ottawa to agree within the framework of the national Strategy on housing. “It is a cry of the heart “, she summarized, before insisting : “We no longer have the time to wait “.
This program launched in 2017, is planning to invest $ 55 billion over ten years in affordable housing. Quebec is the only province that is not always heard with the federal government.
An agreement would offer no solution to the 1st July, recognized the mayor, but by putting the hand on of money, Montreal could start new projects and to address the recurring problem of a shortage of affordable housing.
The directors Plant is committed to build 6000 social housing units and 6000 units of affordable housing. At the present time, it has completed 70% of his goal.