Social housing activists slam City of Montreal over eviction of vulnerable tenants

Click to play video: 'Plateau eviction leaves residents in precarious situation' Plateau eviction leaves residents in precarious situation
WATCH: A dozen people living in a condemned building in Montreal's Plateau-Mont-Royal are scrambling after the city ordered them out. As of Wednesday, the building will be boarded up and as Global's Anne Leclair reports, many residents could find themselves living on the streets – Oct 16, 2018

A dozen tenants living in a condemned building in the Plateau Mont Royal borough are facing eviction on Wednesday.

The city ordered them out two weeks ago and the new landlord has already shared his plans to build condominiums.

But housing-rights activists are now speaking out and slamming the city of Montreal for failing to do more.

“What you see behind me here is one of the generators of homelessness,” said Matthew Pearce, CEO of The Old Brewery Mission. “This is one of the ways people end up on the street. They end up at the doors of the mission and the city is complicit.”

READ MORE: Plateau-Mont-Royal tenants scrambling to find new apartments after building condemned

The story first made news earlier this month after the city handed residents an eviction notice, effective Oct. 17. Mayor Valérie Plante said last week she wished the City could do more to stop the developer from moving ahead with his plans, but insisted her hands were tied. But some housing-rights leaders beg to differ.

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“The solution is that there have to be heavy penalties for people who have decided to get in the business of renting units to human beings and then not carrying out their end of the bargain,” Pearce told Global News.

Last week, the company that is buying the building said that it will gut and renovate the building, with 10 per cent of the new units dedicated to social housing. It also said it is compensating the departing tenants.

“I believe we are doing something good,” said Mahir Ozdilek, Mahlex Groupe president. “We are cleaning up these properties.”

WATCH BELOW: Plateau-Mont-Royal residents scramble as eviction looms

Click to play video: 'Plateau-Mont-Royal residents scramble as eviction looms' Plateau-Mont-Royal residents scramble as eviction looms
Plateau-Mont-Royal residents scramble as eviction looms – Oct 10, 2018

Retired housing-rights activist Francois Saillant is also convinced the city could have done more to make sure the rights of tenants are respected. The former head of FRAPRU just penned a book about the social housing crisis and claims the city could have evicted the landlord and turned the building into social housing units. He also suggests one solution is for the city to fight for the right to seize neglected properties.

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“They should ask the Quebec government to have that power,” Saillant said. “A lot more should be done I hope that Valérie Plante and the municipal administration will have the will to do so.”

About a dozen tenants plan to spend the last night in their home before being moved to hotel until Nov. 1, after which they’ll have to fend for themselves.

“It’s sure we’ll all end up on the street” tenant Alain St-Georges said while fighting back tears. “They don’t care about us.”


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