Plans to add 1,500 more affordable housing units in Quebec

A group of investors says it is planning to build, acquire and renovate 1,500 affordable housing units in Quebec.

The investment, worth $151 million, will be made available to co-ops, non-profit organizations and housing boards.

In an announcement made Tuesday morning at a partially virtual press conference in Montreal, the group states its main objective is to preserve the number of affordable housing units in Quebec.

The funds will be invested on a "project by project" basis when it comes to the construction, acquisition and renovation of buildings.

The investor group includes the governments of Canada and Quebec, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Ivanhoe Cambridge, each of which is investing $30 million.

Four foundations have also contributed an additional $31 million, including the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon, which has contributed $20 million.

MIXED REACTIONS

Tenants' rights associations applaud the step, but point out it is still a largely insufficient amount to solve the bigger housing problem.

The initiative is good, but it does not replace "sufficient and recurring" funds needed by the AccèsLogis government program -- something the Legault government is not currently looking at, according to the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU).

The organization believes governments must protect already-existing affordable rental units by entrusting them to a community or cooperative sector manager.

FRAPRU is calling on the Quebec government to finance the construction of social and community housing, while also facilitating the large-scale acquisition of existing units to convert them into social housing.

This would "preserve their affordability and ensure that existing tenants remain in their homes," FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme told The Canadian Press.

Last month, as part of its budget, the federal government announced it plans to add $2.5 billion over ten years to its housing strategy.

About 60 per cent of that money is earmarked for the construction of 4,500 new units across the country under the Rapid Housing Initiative, which seeks to provide affordable housing for vulnerable Canadians.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.

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