Social housing in danger

“While Quebec is already sorely lacking in social housing, we risk seeing hundreds, even thousands, disappearing over the next few years” said PQ MNA Méganne Perry Mélançon

The Parti Québécois and the FROHME want urgent action to prevent the privatization of other social housing

Social housing has always been a lifejacket for many families and individuals with financial difficulties especially in our borough of Park-Extension. On March 24th, at the National Assembly, representatives of the Fédération des OSBL d’habitation de la Montérégie et de l’Estrie (FROHME) as well as the MNA for Gaspé and spokesperson of the Parti Québécois on housing, Méganne Perry Mélançon, held a press briefing in the hope of getting the government to move because according to them, many buildings dedicated to social housing are likely to soon pass into the hands of private interests. “A moratorium must be decreed,” summed up Méganne Perry Mélançon.

In all regions, hundreds of social housing units are at risk of going private, but there is a solution according to Mélançon: impose a moratorium on the sale of the buildings housing them. The CAQ government must take into account the vulnerability of clienteles and recognize the importance of social housing in Quebec.

According to FROHME the agreement for several buildings belonging to residential NPOs and housing social housing is coming to an end, in all regions of Quebec. As a result, hundreds of them could soon end up on the market, likely to go into private hands; it is even already a reality for some.

Last week, Méganne Perry Mélançon called for the imposition of a moratorium on the sale of these buildings, the time to review the legal framework which governs them. “While Quebec is already sorely lacking in social housing, we risk seeing hundreds, even thousands, disappearing over the next few years simply because we have not acted quickly enough; it’s time for the Minister of Housing to wake up!” she said, pointing out that the tenants in question are mostly elderly women, whose incomes, on average, are below $25,000 a year. Many, therefore, could not assume an increase in their rent, whatever it may be.

“In Quebec, there are 14,000 housing units that are no longer under agreement or will soon no longer be funded by CMHC. It is a collective asset of inestimable value for the regions and communities that still offer, now without public funding, non-profit and affordable housing. These buildings also have a land value of $1.4 billion that could be used as leverage by communities to build other affordable and non-profit housing buildings. If the government wants to exercise its jurisdiction over housing, it must take action to protect this housing stock from real estate speculation. At the moment, the organizations are receiving offers by mail and, unfortunately, not all the administrators are aware of the value and impact of these units on the social level,” said Martin Bécotte, director of FROHME.