With 16 families still living in hotels, the Official Opposition at Montreal City Hall is proposing new solutions to limit the number of families who will be on the street on July 1st. The elected officials of Ensemble Montréal will table a motion at the next City Council to have the City set aside a bank of housing units with the objective of assigning the lease to Montrealers in need.
“It is inconceivable that families have been living in hotels for almost eight months. This is proof that the administration is too late to do damage control. Not only does this have a cost on the human dignity of these people, but also on the City of Montreal. The amounts to be disbursed are increasingly important for temporary housing and other emergency measures,” said Benoît Langevin, Official Opposition spokesperson for Combating Poverty and Homelessness.
This approach to securing housing for vulnerable tenants would be done in partnership with community organizations such as Mission Bon Accueil, which already have expertise in finding affordable housing. Financial assistance would be provided to cover the costs associated with these searches.
The City of Montreal’s participation would be a great asset to these organizations by allowing them to get their hands on affordable housing without the risk of having to pay leases if they do not find tenants.
“The financial risk is on the shoulders of the City of Montreal, but it is a minimal risk considering that the needs are enormous in Montreal. That said, as a precautionary measure, we are asking that the administration set aside a $1 million reserve to pay off the lease on the unit if it remains vacant after July 1st,” added Mr Langevin.
This solution would also have the advantage of helping Montrealers who do not qualify for the rent supplement program. It should be noted that the housing bank set up by the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal consists of a census of currently available housing according to various price categories and support.
“We think that being proactive in helping people who may have difficulty accessing housing is a good idea. It’s not partisan. No one is safe from finding themselves in this situation when 63% of people are renters in Montreal. All it takes is one or two bad lucks and you’re homeless,” explained Sam Watts, CEO of Mission Bon Accueil.
For Ensemble Montréal, the fact that families are still living in hotels despite the support offered by the City of Montreal shows that the latter must offer new solutions to meet the needs in anticipation of July 1st.