Housing Crisis Affects the Most Vulnerable
The Canadian Rental Housing Index (RHI) has released a statement calling on political parties to make the right to housing a central issue. The communiqué emphasizes, among other things, that the housing crisis is getting worse. It should be noted that the RHI brings together stakeholders on the housing issue across Canada.
RHI data from Statistics Canada indicate that almost half a million of the 1,300,000 Quebec tenants (457,375) spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, placing them in a difficult financial situation. Among those, nearly 40 per cent (195,645) spend more than half of their income on housing, an unsustainable financial situation. Of all Quebec tenants, seniors (42 per cent of them) and newcomers (40 per cent of them) allocate the greatest proportion of their income for housing, says the RHI.
“The data shows that we have a problem all over Quebec,” said Jacques Beaudoin, Secretary General of the Quebec Network of Nonprofit Housing Organizations.
The Canadian group is also concerned about overcrowding. In Quebec, overcrowding is closely tied to high housing costs, and many tenants share their homes with roommates, well beyond the capacity of the housing unit. It is estimated that seven per cent of Quebec tenants (92,220) live in overcrowded housing. This proportion is twice as high among single mothers (18%) and almost three times higher among newcomers (26%) who are hardest hit. Overcrowding particularly affects the ridings on the Island of Montreal, as well as Abitibi-James Bay-Nunavik-Eeyou, Laval—Les Îles, Brossard-Saint-Lambert and many others.
The percentage of households in each of the following 10 constituencies that spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent and utilities is indicated below in parentheses:
– Ville-Marie-South-West-Nun’s Island (46%)
– Outremont (44%)
– Lac-Saint-Louis (42%)
– Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Westmount (41%)
– Rivière-du-Nord (41%)
– Laurier-Sainte-Marie (41%)
– Laurentides-Labelle (40%)
– Mount Royal (38%)
– St. Lawrence (38%)
– Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation (38%)
Housing rights activists are realizing more and more that at the heart of the issue is political power. Those who have been fighting tirelessly for decades must be the ones who decide. The slogan Who Decides? We Decide! is on the agenda more than ever.
(Source: Canadian Rental Housing Index. Photo: FRAPRU.)