Quebec budget does not deliver, tenant group says

Felicia Parrillo/Global News

Tenant rights group Action Front in Urban Reorganization (FRAPRU) is denouncing Thursday’s Quebec budget announcement.

On Friday, FRAPRU slammed the economic update by Finance Minister Eric Girard for not including any new investment for social housing.

FRAPRU maintains that the coronavirus crisis has worsened the plight of poorly housed people and highlighted the inadequacy of Quebec’s social safety net in terms of housing. In the event of loss of income, eviction, or a situation of violence requiring immediate action, FRAPRU points out that it takes months, even years, to gain access to low-rental housing.

Yet the group did acknowledge a recent $3.7-billion commitment from both federal and provincial governments to improve social and affordable housing in the province over a 10-year period.

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FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme accuses the government of Quebec of not doing what it takes to fulfill its electoral promise to deliver all of the 15,000 social housing units. Only 2,500 units have been or are in the process of being built, according to Laflamme.

At least 370 Quebec households found themselves homeless on July 1, 2020, the unofficial moving day in the province, twice as many as in 2019, according to FRAPRU. Four months later, they say, 21 Montreal households are still homeless and being housed by the city of Montreal in temporary shelters.

In addition, shelters are full, camps for homeless people are multiplying, and shelters and halfway houses are overflowing, the organization says.

FRAPRU is asking Quebec to include in its next budget a major project of 50,000 social housing units in five years.