Massive rents kill affordable housing

Massive rents kill affordable housing

100,000 affordable housing units disappeared in Quebec in five years as a result

Nearly 116,000 affordable housing units for less than $750 have disappeared in just five years in Quebec, including 90,000 in Montreal alone, denounces FRAPRU.

“In the case of Montreal, it is really the disappearance of affordable housing that awaits us. You have to see that soon, there will be no more [housing at less than $750]”, warns Véronique Laflamme, spokesperson for the Popular Action Front in Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU).

An analysis of the 2016 and 2021 censuses shed light on the net loss of homes that cost less than $750 per month. “In the metropolitan area alone, there are 90,000 housing units [at less than $750] which were lost between the 2016 and 2021 censuses and if we look at certain regions where there are more than 50% of the rents below of this price, we see the curve which decreases dramatically”, deplores Ms. Laflamme.

“The effect has an even bigger impact on seniors that have the capability to live alone but cannot afford it anymore on a fixed income or their penurious pensions” lamented Joanne Tsoublekas, director of senior’s organization FILIA which has operated in Park-Extension for 40 years.

Revealing study

The analysis, conducted across Canada by Steve Pomeroy, Canadian housing expert and professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, also shows that Quebec is the Canadian province with the greatest loss, with close to 116,000 fewer units, followed by Ontario (49,000 affordable units lost) and British Columbia (nearly 32,000).

This same study of Statistics Canada data shows that in just ten years, Montreal has lost nearly 168,000 affordable housing units.

“In the majority of cases now, we find these dwellings in the bracket above, or even beyond $1,000,” adds Ms. Laflamme, who denounces the dramatic consequences that this will have on households with low incomes.

Worrisome trend

And the trend is even more worrying as rents in the regions are rising faster and faster, in particular because of abusive rent increases. “We are heading towards an erosion of the still affordable rental stock. We see major rent increases that occur when tenants change,” says Ms. Laflamme.

“Several municipalities in Quebec deemed more affordable until now and where housing units under $750 still occupy more than half of the rental housing stock are at risk of suffering the same fate as Montreal if nothing is done.” added Ms. Laflamme.