Soon, more families will have access to affordable housing units in Montreal.
The province and the federal government have teamed up to fund the renovation of existing buildings to the tune of $100 million.
The funding will allow the renovation of 10 buildings housing 517 units over the next three years.
“It’s not only a roof over your head, it’s a safe place to raise a family, it’s one less financial burden to worry about. It’s mainly a better quality of life,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
Housing advocates say they welcome the news, but add it’s not enough.
They say the government is catching up with decades of neglect.
According to Robert Pilon, co-ordinator of the Fédération des locataires d’habitation à loyer modique du Québec (FLHLMQ), half of Montreal’s social housing buildings are in disrepair.
“There are 10,000 units that are rated E in Quebec’s infrastructure deterioration index. That’s the worst rating,” explained Pilon. “If it were overpasses, these buildings would be demolished and rebuilt.”
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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says the need for social housing is pressing.
“We do have a waiting list of about 25,000 families that are waiting for a social housing unit,” Plante said.
The investment is part of a partnership between the province of Quebec and Canada signed last October.
The agreement provides for $1.84 billion and requires that Quebec matches the investment.
Pilon says he’d like for the province to step up its funding to make the most of that partnership.
“In Quebec, we need $2 billion to repair the province’s affordable housing. $1 billion for Montreal,” Pilon explained.
“The minister has taken a step in the right direction, but we would like a more ambitious plan.’
Plante agrees more needs to be done.
“We are definitely looking forward to the next step, hopefully it comes soon because the needs are huge.”
The province says similar announcements will be made for other regions in Quebec.