Quebec improves its rent supplement program as July 1 approaches
MONTREAL – While François Legault’s government does not recognize the existence of a housing crisis, it admits there is a problem by announcing a last-minute improvement in assistance to tenants in need.
At three weeks from July 1, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest, increases the envelope for the rent supplement program (PSL) by $ 60 million and relaxes the eligibility criteria in order to offer this supplement. to 2,500 additional households.
Thus, 1,500 households will be able to obtain an emergency PSL, which allows a household to pay only 25% of its income in rent, but in housing that can be up to 50% more expensive than the median market rent. . in the municipality in question.
Among these emergency PSLs, 400 are reserved for homeless people and 100 for women victims of domestic violence.
The remaining 1,000 PSL are intended to support households who can find housing whose rent is 10% higher than the median market rent of their municipality.
$ 2 MILLION FOR MUNICIPALITIES
In addition, $ 2 million is paid to municipalities to help households in distress on their territory.
A press release issued by the Laforest office gives the example of temporary accommodation and the storage of goods. In addition, Quebec is eliminating the vacancy rate criterion for municipalities to be eligible for these funds.
Regardless, the latest data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shows vacancy rates well below the break-even point in almost every city in Quebec, which means there are has a shortage of rental housing.
The Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) was quick to react, welcoming Laforest’s action plan to support households looking for housing.
The UMQ underlines that “all regions face significant housing needs”.
Households unable to find housing can apply for help from the Société d’habitation du Québec (SHQ), whose hours have been extended to the weekends of June 26-27 and July 3-4.
SHQ staff can be reached toll free at 1- (800) -463-4315.
Municipal housing authorities are also on standby to provide emergency services to tenants in need on July 1.
Since May 31, they have been authorized to sign leases to constitute a supply of housing available to households in need.
Several announcements for the construction of social and affordable housing have been made by all levels of government in recent months, but these have been slow to materialize as the private market is booming and households struggle to cope with increasing pressure from rents.
The situation has worsened over the years, especially as many units have been taken off the market through condominium conversions and short-term AirBnb-type tourist rentals.
– this report by the Canadian Press was first published in French on June 11, 2021.