In Montreal, 1 in 5 households can’t afford both rent and other basic needs

Click to play video: 'New statistics reveal Montreal housing crisis, poverty deepening'
New statistics reveal Montreal housing crisis, poverty deepening
WATCH: Centraide published some alarming statistics on Monday regarding Montreal’s housing crisis. The organization says it's worse than we think and warn tens of thousands of Montrealers simply can't afford basic necessities. Global's Amanda Jelowicki reports – May 15, 2023

Centraide Montreal is warning that the city’s housing crisis has reached staggering heights, with hundreds of thousands of people not able to make ends meet.

The organization says almost 360,000 — or one in five — households don’t make enough money to pay for their housing and for essentials like food, clothing and transportation.

“It’s staggering and not in a good way. We are talking one out of five households in the area of Greater Montreal simply can’t make it,” said Claude Pinard, the president and executive director of Centraide of Greater Montreal.

“They don’t have enough money to get through their basic needs.”

Centraide released the data at a symposium on housing on Monday morning, where 400 community stakeholders gathered to talk about the crisis.

Centraide says the housing crisis has a terrible spillover effect on other areas of concern, including child development, mental health, food security and homelessness.

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Pinard says the various levels of government need better coordination with community organizations.

“There is not one actor out there who has a solution. The government alone can’t fix this problem. The municipalities alone can’t fix this problem,” he said.

“We need federal, provincial, municipal governments, then we need community organizations, citizens, we need promoters, and we need to sit down and let go of all corporate interests that we might have, and really try to work on solutions.”

Click to play video: 'Tough sell: Montreal’s housing market to continue sliding this summer'
Tough sell: Montreal’s housing market to continue sliding this summer

City executive committee member Benoit Dorais attended the symposium. He said his administration has chosen to focus on social housing as a priority, and he encouraged other governments to do the same.

“Every level of government including the city of Montreal has to make choices,” Dorais said. “That is what we are doing in Montreal. We are making choices to work against the housing crisis. I think that is a choice that each government has to do.”

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Centraide partnered with McKinsey Montreal to provide analysis of the current crisis.

Stakeholder Andreane Desilets says the government needs to step up and do more. Desilets is the executive director of the Benedict Labre house, a day shelter. The organization is building a $15-million, 36-unit housing project that will offer a place to live for homeless people with addiction issues or mental health problems.

The construction is supposed to be finished in the fall. But Desilets says the organization does not have enough money to hire intervention workers to to run the building.

“It takes at least six intervention workers in order for this project to be safe so this is the biggest issue we are having and this is a concern,” Desilets said.

“The government needs to step up. There are a lot of amazing projects and a lot of amazing people putting forward these projects and the funding is not there. “

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