A Quebec housing advocacy group says it fears a record number of households will be left homeless after the province’s move day on July 1.
“On the eve of July 1, we count 750 renter households in Quebec who have not found a home,” Veronique Laflamme, a spokeswoman for the Front d’action populaire en reamenagement urbain (FRAPRU), said in an interview.
That estimate is based on requests for help received by city housing departments in the province, Laflamme said, and could change as families find housing in the meantime.
The number is much higher than the 420 renter households that were homeless at the same time last year, she said.
She said the number of households that called a housing assistance service this year also rose to 3,500, up from 2,000 a year earlier.
In Montreal, 107 households were helped by city workers on Friday and “still have not found a permanent solution,” the city’s communications department said in an email. Among them, “some have been able to negotiate a short-term lease extension, while others can be placed with relatives.”
The city said it can temporarily accommodate anyone in need.
According to Laflamme, “These numbers are the tip of the iceberg of the housing crisis” in Quebec. She said more and more families are living in substandard housing, housing that is too small or too expensive for their needs.
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According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s most recent annual report, released last February, about 30 communities in Quebec have vacancy rates below one percent.
In the Montreal region, the vacancy rate is higher at 3 percent.
On Wednesday, Quebec announced that it will increase a financial assistance program for low-income households starting Oct. 1.
The government also said it would spend $2 million as part of “Operation July 1” to help people find housing and provide temporary housing and furniture storage for people who can’t find housing.
“There is absolutely no reason for people to be sleeping on the streets tonight when these people are calling our housing department’s emergency teams,” Andree Laforest, Minister for Communities and Housing, said in an email, adding that the Government a record amount of money to provide ’emergency relief to tenants in need’.
However, Laflamme said the government is not getting to the root of the problem. Her faction wants the Quebec government to crack down on property speculation and evictions that exploit gray areas in the province’s housing laws.
According to the Provincial Housing Administration, more than 8,000 “social and affordable” housing units have been built or are under construction since 2018.
The City of Montreal said it is waiting for Quebec and Ottawa to reach a financing agreement that will allow it to build or renovate 6,000 public housing units.
While the start date for residential leases has not been set by the Quebec government since the 1970s, the vast majority begin on July 1. The practice began with a 1750 law that set May 1st as the start date for apartment leases – a move by the then New France government to protect tenants from evictions over the winter.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/8963574/quebec-moving-day-could-see-record-number-of-tenants-without-somewhere-to-live/ Quebec Moving Day Could See Record Number of Homeless Renters – Montreal