Québec Solidaire’s (QS) Manon Massé called out the provincial and federal governments on Thursday for not maintaining nearly 300 affordable housing apartments in Montreal that remain vacant due to poor maintenance.
Speaking to reporters outside of Habitations Beaudry — an empty low-rent housing complex in poor condition in the Center-Sud district of Montreal — Massé called on the government to invest and renovate the building so that it can become usable.
“While people are sleeping outside because they can no longer find housing, hundreds of public housing units are barricaded because our governments have let them fall into disrepair,” Massé said.
The QS co-leader added that leaving these buildings abandoned in the middle of a housing crisis is shocking.
In a tweet, Massé said the housing crisis and lack of available affordable living is what has resulted in the tent city along Notre-Dame Street in Montreal’s east end.
According to housing advocates, several encampments have emerged across the city and are a product of the current housing crisis coupled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement released by QS on Thursday, nearly 300 public housing units on the Island of Montreal are vacant, and 100 more could go unused by next year if the government doesn’t invest in their upkeep.
“Thirty years of government neglect, this is what it looks like: low-rent housing falling into ruin, a makeshift campsite set up in the heart of Montreal and record waiting lists for social housing,” the statement said.
According to Richard Lampron, president of the Comité-Bails Hochelaga Montreal, neither the municipal, provincial nor federal governments are handling the issue.
“The federal government doesn’t put any money into social housing. Quebec tried to put a bit but it’s not enough and Montreal doesn’t have enough money to put in social housing,” Lampron told Global News.
QS said it is urging the provincial government to put pressure on Ottawa for more funding. “The $2.5 million for social housing blocked by Ottawa shows the country’s inability to respond to Quebec’s social needs.”
Global News has reached out to the City of Montreal for comment but the city did not respond by the time of publishing.
–With files from Global News’ Anne Leclair