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Over 1,600 Quebec households are without a roof over their heads: advocates


No region in Quebec is escaping the housing crisis.

Taking stock of the situation on Thursday in Montreal, housing group the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) reported that there are 1,667 households without housing, without a lease or looking for housing throughout Quebec.

All the province's major cities have a vacancy rate of 1.5 per cent or less, while the balance is 3 per cent. Several of them even have rates below one: Trois-Rivières, 0.4; Rimouski, 0.6 ; while Gatineau is exactly at 1 per cent.

Of the 1,667 households without accommodation as of Thursday, a number that is likely to increase in the coming days, 379 are temporarily housed by the municipalities -- in hotels in most cases -- or with relatives. The others are in various precarious situations, notably camping or in their own vehicles.

What's more, the unprecedented figure comes at a time when there has been a significant drop in the number of moves compared with 2018. In other words, even though fewer households are moving, the number of those in difficulty is increasing.

FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme said, for example, that the pressure is so great that a landlord was witnessed evicting tenants in order to house his son, who had himself been evicted and could no longer find accommodation.

Severe shortage of social housing

While FRAPRU welcomes the expansion of assistance services funded by the Quebec government, it's calling for them to be funded and in place year-round since the crisis is no longer limited to July 1 but is spread over 12 months since the problem recurs on the first day of each month.

The organization also severely criticized the Legault government for its inaction on social housing construction. It is urging Quebec to present an action plan on housing, pointing out that this action plan has been due since the spring of 2022, and criticizes the fact that no new consultations on this subject have taken place since 2020.

According to FRAPRU, some 160,000 social housing units should be built over the next 15 years so that they represent 20 per cent of the rental housing stock, a minimum in the current context of overbidding. The organization goes even further, calling for a ban on short-term accommodation such as Airbnb, a necessary measure in the context of the crisis that would put at least 30,000 homes back on the market.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 4, 2024. Top Stories

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