In the News
Workers Persist in Raising Just Demands
Action in Gatineau Addresses Dire Housing Crisis
With no end in sight to the scarcity of rental housing in Gatineau and rental costs continuously on the rise — making an already precarious situation even worse for many people — the Housing Emergency Outaouais Coalition organized an action in front of the office of the Chapleau riding CAQ Member of the National Assembly, Mathieu Lévesque. The group demanded immediate and ambitious investments in social and community housing as well as that the AccèsLogis program be restored, as part of the regional week-long actions called by the Popular Action Front for Urban Development (FRAPRU).
In a communiqué, members of the coalition expressed their preoccupation with the serious housing crisis, as a large number of people have not managed to find an apartment and have been living in temporary facilities for months, a situation to which the Quebec government seems to be totally indifferent. Housing Emergency Outaouais fears that the situation will only get worse.
François Roy, coordinator for Logemen’occupe, recalled that on the same date one year ago a report was filed — Report by the observation mission of the Rights and Freedom League on the housing situation in Gatineau. He said, “There was no follow-up to the recommendations of this report by the region’s elected officials in the National Assembly. The situation continues to deteriorate because of the government’s refusal to take the effective measures that are needed, ignoring the urgency as well as its own responsibilities towards the right to housing. In the past four years, funds allotted by Quebec have delivered less than 300 social housing units in Gatineau, it makes no sense!”
Katia Brien-Simard, spokesperson for a group of NGOs promoting housing and community support in the Outaouais (ROHSCO), noted that available housing in Gatineau is financially out of reach for 8,175 households in the region, who already spend more than half of their income on rent, at the expense of other basic needs. If we want to get out of this crisis once and for all, she said, it is necessary to increase non-market rental housing and in order to achieve this, Quebec must initiate an ambitious project of community and social housing.
The members of Urgence logement Outaouais reiterate that the new Quebec affordable housing program (PHAQ) fails to answer the needs of low-income households. As well, the private housing which it will fund will not stay affordable for long. They find this program to be unclear, especially concerning the exact definition of affordability and the revenue cap that determines which families can have access to housing in the program that is funded by the state and based on the private sector whose mission is to make profits.
Organizations from across Quebec who are engaged in the development of social housing and putting an end to homelessness are demanding the Quebec government maintain its AccèsLogis program for the construction of future projects and that it invest the funds necessary to make it work. They are demanding funding for 10,000 units in Quebec in the upcoming year, which would allow for the development of 420 new social and community housing units in the Outaouais.
(Workers’ Forum, posted March 4, 2022)