September 14, 2015 1:11 pm
Updated: September 14, 2015 8:47 pm

Montreal housing in ’emergency’ health situation: public health director

WATCH ABOVE: Montreal public health is appealing for more public housing. It says poor housing conditions have created an unsettling volume of sanitation issues and it took its case to federal election candidates Monday. Global's Billy Shields reports.

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MONTREAL – A housing crunch has created an unsettling series of sanitation issues, according to the city’s director of public health.

Dr. Richard Massé used terms like “emergency” to describe a report he issued recently on the different living conditions of Montrealers.

The Toward health and affordable housing report surveyed about 210,000 houses and found that 95,000 of them suffer from food insecurity.

Over 50,000 did not have enough food due to lack of money.

“The problem caused by access to affordable housing prevents thousands of Montrealers from eating properly,” said Massé.

“We must quickly come up with solutions, because a poor diet can cause many health problems.”

These include diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer.

The report states the the state of housing in Montreal has deteriorated over the last 15 years.

For example, rent for a standard three-bedroom apartments rose 38 per cent, while inflation increased by just 28 per cent.

About 30 per cent of the city’s households had some sort of sanitation issue last year:

  • 21 per cent had visible mould or signs of water infiltration
  • 9 per cent had mice or rats
  • 3.4 per cent had bed bugs
  • 3.3 per cent had cockroaches

These mostly affected rented homes.

Along those lines, those living in lower income households were more likely to have issues, according to the report.

Public Health is asking the federal government to reinvest in social and community housing problems, stating that Canada is the only OECD country that does not have a comprehensive national housing strategy.

Massé also suggested that all municipalities on the island of Montreal adopt healthy housing regulations by allotting various resources to upholding a proper standard of living.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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