Growing families struggle to find suitable housing as moving day looms
Naomie Tremblay and her family can’t find a place to live.
With less than a week to go before the Quebec’s July 1 moving day, Tremblay and her husband are still searching for lodging large enough to raise their two young boys and her nine-year-old stepdaughter. Their search began over a year ago.
“A three-bedroom place is almost impossible to find,” she says. “I need to live somewhere.”
Tremblay and her family are searching for appropriate lodging in Rosemont or the Plateau so they don’t have to change daycares or schools. She understands that the price for a monthly rent could cost them anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 but says that the couple’s freelance employment status and their young children are scaring landlords away.
According to housing group FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme, there are at least 106 people still searching for lodging in Montreal. Laflamme says the city’s vacancy rate is 1.7 per cent, the lowest it has been since 2005. She adds that the current housing problems are affecting not only Montreal but other cities across the province including Sherbrooke, Quebec, Drummondville and Laval.
“These people are nearing a homeless situation, there are no alternatives for families,” she says.
But it’s not only families that are searching for lodging. Student Marianne Couture-Cosette has spent the past year-and-a-half searching for a suitable apartment after her landlord informed her that he will be renovating her place and she will have to move out.
Couture-Cossette says she is constantly searching rental websites and refreshing them every 15 minutes throughout the day in her efforts to find a new apartment. She says that with dozens of applicants for every available lodging, she is lucky to even get a response to her e-mails from landlords. She adds that some renters are even willing to overpay on monthly rent or give cash bribes for lodging.
Quebec Solidaire’s housing critic Andrés Fontecilla says the CAQ government needs to take charge of the housing “crisis.”
Fontecilla says that his Laurier-Dorion riding has a 0.7 per cent unoccupied rate but 0 per cent for family housing. He says it’s time for the CAQ government to announce emergency measure for long and short-term solutions.
Meanwhile, Tremblay and her family continue to live at her parents’ home on the South Shore. She says she is grateful to have family helping but is ready to move on.
“It’s okay but it’s not our home,” she says.