On Saturday, the Popular Action Front for Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU), a Quebec coalition of grassroots housing committees, marched across St-Henri to demand 2,800 additional government housing units for Montreal’s Sud Ouest borough. The local government already builds about 3,000 public housing units each year, but FRAPRU argues that it is not enough. According to FRAPRU, the units constructed annually are barely enough to cover current demand, let alone address the wait list of 23,000 individuals.
During the demonstration, protestors covered high-end condo advertisements which have drawn middle and upper-class residents to the borough over the last few years. These costly residences, coupled with Ottawa’s CA$1.2 billion funding cut for social housing in the last four years, have led to tensions between developers and residents, who cite concerns about gentrification and a “loss of diversity” when residents cannot afford to stay. Many families in the Sud Ouest spend more than half of their monthly incomes on rent.
Fred Burrill, FRAPRU member and demonstration organizer, argues that many locals have simply been priced out of the area. By failing to address the housing shortage, Burrill says that the city isn’t “fixing” poverty, it’s “just going somewhere else.”
Source: The Montreal Gazette.