Federal government loans millions to construct affordable housing units in LaSalle

Construction on the Celeste housing project in LaSalle is expected to ramp up this summer. Thursday, April 1, 2021. Olivia O'Malley/Global News

LaSalle residents will have more affordable rental housing options in the coming years.

The federal government is providing a low-cost construction loan of nearly $67.8 million through the rental construction finance initiative for the construction of two five-storey residential buildings, for a total of 226 housing units in Montreal’s LaSalle borough.

“There’s a lot of projects in the area but this is the one that responds to the needs of folks who want to rent units,” said Ahmed Hussen, minister of families, children and social development and minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Read more: A permanent housing project in Montreal tries to help a city hit hard by COVID, apartment crunch

According to Hussen, 166 of the 226 units will have rents well below 30 per cent of the median household income in LaSalle. He added that at least 57 of these rental units will be held at affordable rental levels for a minimum of 21 years.

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Officials involved with the announcement Thursday morning agree that there is a lack of rental housing available to essential workers such as nurses, teachers and firefighters and COVID-19 has only worsened this problem. They are hoping projects like this one will address the lack of rental housing in the city.

Read more: Montreal tenants, advocates demonstrate against city’s lack of affordable housing

“They are the people that we rely on to run our city and enable us to have a good quality of life in Canada’s urban centres are finding it harder and harder to afford rent, they’re being forced to move farther and farther away,” said Hussen.

The project, referred to as Celeste, will be situated on Gagné Street near the Champlain Shopping Centre.

“This will help the residents of LaSalle. They will live closer to where they work, gain easy access to services and public transportation and ultimately improve their quality of life,” said Hussen.

Construction is expected to ramp up this summer and should be finished by February 2022.

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