Advocates launch pan-Quebec tour to demand more social housing – Montreal
For some protesters gathered outside Premier Francois Legault’s office on Sunday, Quebec’s plan to distribute up to $600 to households this fall won’t help some people pay their rent.
“A check might help people not go to the food bank for a week or a month, but after that they’re still in a place that they can’t afford to pay,” said pleaded Véronique Laflamme, spokesperson for the group for the right to housing, Popular Action Front in Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU).
Social housing advocates call on the Quebec government to do more
The money, which the government says will help Quebecers ease the burden of inflation, will cost the province more than $3 million, money that protesters say could be invested in social housing.
Although the province has made promises in recent months to invest in social housing, protesters argue more is needed and say the government should get involved now.
“Namely to build at least 50,000 (social housing) over the next five years,” said Amy Darwish of the Parc Extension Action Committee (CAPE), another housing rights group.
They and others at the protest want the government to make that commitment in its mini-budget, due this fall.
Because, as the demonstrators point out, many people have been waiting too long for social housing.
“There have been a number of buildings that have been acquired for social housing, but no project can be developed because the Legault government simply will not invest in social housing,” Darwish told Global News. .
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Housing advocates have long criticized the provincial government for the number of such projects.
According to them, the province has not invested enough money in the AccèsLogis program, which pools public, private and community resources to build social and affordable housing.
“This program needs to be improved,” insisted Laflamme.
Tenants at the protest said the situation was urgent.
“Many of us are paying over 30% of our income to rent, living in abject poverty,” Nicholas Harvest pointed out, “because we have to pay for a place to live.”
To help drive home this point to the government, some of the protesters will be traveling around the province with a tank built as a house.
The plan is to park it in front of the Quebec Legislative Assembly in mid-February, before the full provincial budget is presented.
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