Families losing in apartment construction boom, housing group says

It's the first time in 20 years that there were more apartments units built than condos, but those units don't always meet the needs of families.

Most new units in Quebec are small or overpriced for low-income families: FRAPRU

Although there were more rental apartments built last year than condos, many do not suit the needs of families, FRAPRU says. More social housing like this co-operative project in the Plateau Mont-Royal is needed, it says. (Allan Johnson/CBC)

A group of housing rights activists says 11 Montreal families were left homeless after the province's annual moving day due to a lack of affordable housing in the city.

Last year, only three families found themselves in the same situation, FRAPRU said.

It's the first time in 20 years that there were more apartments units built than condos, but those units don't always meet the needs of families when it comes to pricing and size, according to the activist group that advocates for affordable housing.

Many of these new apartments only have one or two bedrooms, and larger ones are often out of the price range of families.

"They are not helping poor tenants, or even the middle class tenants, because the rents are too high," said François Saillant, co-ordinator for FRAPRU.

The group is calling for more social housing units across Montreal. But current negotiations between Ottawa and provinces over funding for housing risk cutting social housing programs entirely, Saillant said. The governments are fighting primarily over jurisdiction, not on concrete policies.

"For us, it's very, very bad. The realization of the right to housing is more important than jurisdiction," Saillant said.

At a meeting between provincial and federal ministers in Victoria, B.C. last week, housing activists demanded $10 billion for affordable housing across the country.

"We want the Quebec government to be there to defend the interests of all the Quebecers," Saillant said. "And especially of the Quebecers that are badly housed, and for the Quebecers that are homeless."

With files from Shaun Malley