Advocacy of investments in public and social housing

The summer wish list for most households in Quebec looks the same year after year: choosing their next vacation destination, getting a beach bag, decorating their backyard or balcony, enjoying a delicious barbecue meal, all while slathered in sunscreen.

But for too many low-income households in Quebec, including a growing number of families, the only wish is the hope of being able to live in decent housing. A month after 1Er July, the signatories of this text want to remind decision-makers what public and social housing is for: to offer those who need it a home in a healthy and safe environment.

For 50 years, developers and managers of public and social housing have gained incomparable experience and serious knowledge in their field. More than ever, their daily actions contribute to the fight against socio-economic inequality. Even today, they support 190,000 low- and modest-income families created in all regions of Quebec.

Managers, administrators and staff of cooperatives, housing and communal authorities and non-profit organizations for at least half a century have dedicated themselves to ensuring that an ever-growing number of citizens live with dignity in healthy and safe living conditions. Like education, health or social services professionals who work with vulnerable populations, these social and public housing experts support thousands of Quebec households each year.

Today, the value of the buildings owned and operated by these organizations is estimated at more than $20 billion. These real estate objects were financed with state funds from all levels of government. It goes without saying that modern governments have a responsibility to ensure the sustainability of these investments by continuing the work started by their predecessors and remaining active partners in reconstruction projects and the construction of public and social housing.

Who today would think of leaving their house, built with their own hands, without doing anything to ensure its durability? Who today would think of giving up support offered to loved ones in need to avoid dangerous situations or even homelessness?

A societal choice made 50 years ago to invest in public and social housing by providing the funding needed to support low-income or vulnerable tenants is supporting these approximately 190,000 households today. This collective decision goes a long way toward preventing and even reducing homelessness, providing parents with housing that allows their children to continue their education, and maintaining housing stability for seniors.

Today, we all have an interest in preserving these public gains by protecting our collective housing stock, adequately funding the development of new public and social housing, and simplifying the procedures and administrative steps that complicate the implementation of these projects.

The issue of adequate financing of public and social housing is directly related to the fate of thousands of households in Quebec. Chronic underfunding not only increases homelessness and worsens the housing stability of large numbers of young families and independent seniors, but also undoubtedly undermines all efforts to combat poverty.

In addition, the community support provided to these people, whose funding will benefit from the increase, reduces the pressure on our health and social services. It also helps support immigrant families in their new environment.

Quebec society must renew its collective commitment to provide a roof for everyone. Organizations in the community and social housing sector reaffirm today their commitment to use their experience and know-how for the benefit of Quebecers with low or modest incomes.

What will be the commitments of the political parties regarding housing issues in Quebec? To find out about them, the main leaders of the political parties running in the next elections were invited to a pre-election debate on September 13 next year as part of the 8d RQOH colloquium.

*André Castonguay, Executive Director of the Quebec Network of Housing NGOs (RQOH), Anne Demers, Executive Director, Regroupement des offices d’habitation du Québec (ROHQ), Yves Dubé, President of the Federation of Low Rent Housing Tenants of Quebec (FLHLMQ) ), Ambroise Henry, President of the Association of Technical Resource Groups of Quebec (AGRTQ), Véronique Laflamme, Spokesperson of the Popular Action Front for Urban Renewal (FRAPRU), Sandra Turgeon, Executive Director of the Confederation of Quebec Housing Cooperatives (CQCH)

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