MONTREAL -- A demonstration to demand more social housing is taking place Saturday afternoon in the streets of the South-West borough, where rent is among the highest on the island of Montreal, according to affordable housing advocates Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU).

Organizers of the march are asking the Legault government for additional urgent investments to address the critical need for housing.

"We have the impression that there will still be too many households that will be without a lease on July 1," said FRAPRU spokesperson Veronique Laflamme. "For several weeks now, we have been asking the Ministry of Housing to adjust its assistance program, and we have made proposals. We still have no news."

In the medium term, the organization is asking for the addition of 50,000 units over five years, both through new construction and by acquiring existing buildings to get them off the speculative market.

The group also wants price controls and the establishment of a rent registry.

"It is no longer time for small measures, we need structural measures," said Laflamme, who believes that the amounts provided in the last provincial budget are insufficient.

Premier Francois Legault and Minister of Housing Andree Laforest have refused in recent days to talk about the housing crisis, even though the CAQ leader recognized the lack of affordable housing.

On the ground, many tenants are desperately seeking affordable housing, but are faced with unaffordable rents, FRAPRU says.

"This crisis is not just about vacancy rates, as the Minister of Housing and the premier seem to believe. The housing crisis is the fact that for too many renter households, the private market does not have housing that can be afforded," said Laflamme.

The CAQ promised to build 15,000 social housing units during its mandate, and Laforest said that the commitment will be realized.

Quebec and Ottawa also announced an additional investment of $100 million Wednesday for the renovation of HLM in Montreal.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2021.