As cases of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic rise, community organizations are calling on the Quebec government to increase its investment in social housing in the next provincial budget.
The coalition, formed by the Front d’Action Populaire en Réaménagement Urbain (FRAPRU) and the Alliance des maisons de 2étape pour femmes et enfants victimes de violence conjugale (Alliance MH2), said at a press conference on Sunday that social housing is essential for women who suffer from domestic violence.
According to the groups, only 66 per cent of women who leave women’s shelters find housing that they can afford.
FRAPRU said it is calling on the government to fund the construction of 50,000 social housing units within the next five years.
The group is also requesting that 106 units be opened in second-stage housing shelters that are awaiting approval.
In 2019-2020 alone, the refusal rate of requests for accommodation with Alliance MH2 houses was 75 per cent in Montreal and 37 per cent in other regions., according to FRAPRU and Alliance MH2. They said that some areas of Quebec were not even served.
Alliance MH2 has stressed that it has been waiting for these new units for a year and a half, a delay it calls “absurd.”
“If nothing is done to address the lack of affordable housing available, too many women will continue to stay with their abusers and endanger their lives,” said Gaelle Fedida, Alliance MH2 spokesperson.