New Montreal program helps Quebec newcomers with the process of finding affordable housing

FECHIMM announces new program to help newcomers find affordable housing. Yohan Hache / Global News

One of the biggest challenges a new immigrant may face when they first arrive in Quebec is the search for affordable housing.

To overcome that hurdle, a non-profit focusing on social housing has launched a new program that will help newcomers find a home.

The project is called “Housing, key to a successful integration.” It’s run by the Fédération des Coopératives d’Habitation Intermunicipale du Montréal Métropolitain (FECHIMM) and financed by the City of Montreal and Quebec’s immigration ministry.

READ MORE: Advocates say Montreal co-ops riddled with problems because of poor maintenance

Through this new program, newcomers will be given the knowledge needed and will be accompanied through the process of finding a home.

“This project is not to have more social housing units. It’s to better integrate people,” said Richard Audet with FECHIMM.

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“Newcomers sometimes don’t know how social housing, co-ops and non-profits work. So we have to give [them] some keys.”

READ MORE: As Montreal booms, city’s reputation for affordable apartments takes a hit

Audet says the FECHIMM — Quebec’s largest co-op housing federation — will work with partners to educate and share information with newcomers.

Click to play video: 'Co-op housing woes'
Co-op housing woes

For example, they will help them present their candidacy to obtain a spot in a co-op.

“Searching for a co-op is like searching for a job,” Audet said.

FECCHIM says arming people with knowledge and accompanying them in the process will also help diminish discrimination to which immigrants are sometimes subjected.

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READ MORE: Montreal to propose new rules to increase affordable housing

The city says 70 per cent of immigrants who come to the province settle in Montreal.

“There are too many newcomers in our city who are dedicating an excessive amount of their income into housing that is not convenient for them,” said Magda Popeanu, the city’s executive committee member responsible for culture and diversity.

“FECCHIM’s project — which will be done in collaboration with the Centre social d’aide aux immigrants — will be a key element to a successful integration.”

According to FECHIMM, almost 20,000 families live in about 600 co-ops in the Montreal area.

In October, there were more than 2,000 names on a waiting list.


—With files from Global’s Phil Carpenter

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