The city of Montreal is expected to approve a loan and grant next week to create 150 affordable homes in two boroughs.

On Thursday Mayor Valerie Plante announced the city would spend $7.6 million to buy and renovate 61 homes in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, and another 90 in Rosemont-La Petite Patrie.

"The announcement today is one answer to this market that is getting more and more expensive," said Plante. "We are supporting organizations that wanted to buy and couldn't make it.... Those organizations will buy those buildings and keep the rental market affordable."

The measure still needs to be approved by city council but that is expected to happen on Monday.

She said it was the first step in creating 12,000 affordable housing units in the city of Montreal, and said doing so was necessary even as Montreal is going through a condo-building boom.

"It's a way to keep the people staying inside and also to keep the resnt at 85 per cent of the median," said Plante. "It's affordable and it's sustainable, because it's long term. It's in the contract we signed with the groups."

Several non-profit groups such as Batir son quartier are working with Montreal on this project to identify the best buildings to change into affordable housing towers, and the people who are in need of affordable housing.

Batir spokesperson Valerie Fortin said the demand for rentals in Montreal has priced many people out of the market. 

"We have lists of people in need of affordable housing," she said. "There are some families, there are some people alone that don't earn a lot of money, so they also need housing."

To be considered affordable housing, a unit must rent for 85 per cent of the median cost of an apartment. 

Plante said the city would be loaning the organizations some money, while other funds would be given outright to the groups that would own the buildings in question.

"We are supporting organizations that wanted to buy and couldn't make it. We are supporting organizations that would be able to buy those buildings again to keep the rent affordable," said Plante.

"That's why we are trying to play a role, a very pro-active role, in this reality."

Montreal is also examining the purchase of another building in Lachine, and one of Projet Montreal's promises was to get builders to include more affordable housing in their developments.

Affordable housing is often defined as an apartment that is rented at 85 percent of the median cost for apartments in that size.