“I’ll camp on the street”: The housing shortage is taking its toll

As July 1st draws near, many people are still browsing the classifieds hoping to find a new home before the fateful date. Living space is becoming increasingly scarce, whether affordable or not.

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Suzanne Jubinville had lived in a house in Boisbriand for two years with her husband, daughter and adult son and his spouse and newborn.

With the new family recently coming to her side, the rent on the house is now too high for Mrs. Jubinville. She must vacate the premises by July 1 as the property has been sold.

The 58-year-old is keen to stay in the area as she is being treated for cancer at Laval’s Cité-de-la-Santé hospital. She has been actively looking for a 4 ½ since April with no success. According to CMHC data from 2021, the vacancy rate in the sought-after area is around 0.3%.

“We have visited at least 5-6 households but the procedures are not working. It’s too expensive, it’s not to our liking, it’s too old, it’s not livable in,” laments Ms. Jubinville. Also, she has a dog, a factor that makes more than one owner wary.

“I’m nervous, I have trouble sleeping, I’m stressed. It’s hard for me to live and eat,” she adds. What if she can’t find it? “I don’t know, I’m going to camp on the street!” she replies.

With available rents scarce, more and more people have to spend more than half of their income on housing. The latest data from 2016 shows 197,000 households in the same situation.

The average rent in Montreal in 2021 was $932 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, according to CMHC. At Gatineau, we’re talking $1,035.

The emergency aid administered by the municipalities not only makes people happy; The organization sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, according to some. It would be poorly publicized and variations persist by region.

“As in previous years, the Quebec government has announced an action plan for July 1 that includes emergency rent surcharges, allowing tenants to sign a lease with the assurance that they will only spend 25% of their income on housing and a subsidy pay a program for municipalities that reimburses costs for temporary accommodation, storage and relocation in particular,” explains the spokeswoman for the Popular Action Front for Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU), Véronique Laflamme.

“The Quebec government invites people who do not have the help they need to contact the Société d’habitation du Québec. For now, we’re advising renters across Quebec who haven’t found a place to go to their local housing office,” she adds.

But for FRAPRU, the pitfalls faced by many households, especially low-income households, show the importance of finding long-term solutions.

“The longer we wait, the more it costs. We need to start a big social housing project. It is absolutely essential to act quickly to counteract fraudulent evictions that contribute to this growing number of renter households becoming homeless at the time of relocation,” concludes Ms Laflamme.

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