The annual construction of 500 social housing units, announced Monday by Quebec, is largely insufficient, since it would be necessary to build more than double to really meet demand, denounce the organizations defending the poorly housed.
“It’s window dressing, the government would have to invest double what was announced”, deplores Chantal Desfossés, general manager of the Quebec network of housing non-profit organizations (RQOH), reacting to the announcement on Tuesday. made by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest.
The Minister has announced her plans to invest $ 279 million over the next six years to build 3,000 social housing units, or 500 per year, and $ 2 billion to renovate low-cost HLMs across Quebec.
These amounts will come from the Canada-Quebec housing agreement, signed in October 2020.
However, it would be necessary to build 5,000 social housing units per year to meet the demand, in a context of a shortage of affordable apartments, denounces the RQOH, supported by four other organizations that campaign for social housing (the Association of technical resource groups du Québec (AGRTQ), the Confédération québécoise des coopératives d’habitation (CQCH), the Federation of HLM tenants of Quebec (FLHLMQ), and the Front for Popular Action in Urban Reorganization (FRAPRU)).
According to data from these organizations, 35,000 households are waiting for social housing across the province, and waiting lists are growing as rent prices rise.
There are 500,000 Quebec households living in unaffordable housing.
Chantal Desfossés, Executive Director of the Quebec Network of Housing NPOs
Some are also forced to live in apartments that are unsanitary or too small for their families.
She recalls that the government of François Legault had promised, during the election campaign, three years ago, the addition of 15,000 social housing units.
Another source of dissatisfaction: the promised investment of 279 million for 3,000 units means that we are planning $ 93,000 per unit. “The amounts planned are insufficient when we look at the real costs”, points out Mme Desfossés. In Montreal, building affordable housing cost an average of $ 240,000, according to the Auditor General of Quebec.
In this regard, the Société d’habitation du Québec (SHQ) specifies that “the financial contribution of $ 93,000 does not correspond to the cost of building the home, but rather to the average subsidy that would be granted to an organization to develop a new one. housing project ”.
“Other sources of funding can be added, including a contribution from the municipalities. In addition, the difference between the cost of production and the grants and contributions received is assumed by the organization via a mortgage, ”indicates Sylvain Fournier, communications advisor at the SHQ.
“A step in the right direction”, says Montreal
In Montreal, Mayor Valérie Plante promised, during the election campaign, the addition of 2,000 social housing units per year during her four-year term, for a total of 8,000.
To fulfill these promises, however, Montreal needs money from Quebec.
Does Mayor Plante believe that the 3,000 social housing units announced by Minister Laforest for all of Quebec are insufficient?
“We welcome these additional sums for social housing, which is a step in the right direction,” replied her press officer, Catherine Cadotte, in a written statement. “Massive investments are necessary on the part of all levels in order to adequately meet needs and contribute to the affordability of the metropolis. We have set ambitious social housing construction targets and we are confident that we will achieve them with the collaboration of the provincial and federal governments. ”