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New housing plan unveiled

 

The Gazette

Published: 9 hours ago

A plan by the Metropolitan Montreal Community that would cost $500 million over the next five years to build, renovate and repair 10,000 low-income and social housing units in the greater Montreal area was unveiled yesterday.

 

The agency co-ordinates urban and regional planning for 82 municipalities in and around the island of Montreal.

 

Paul Larocque, who heads the CMM's housing commission, announced the five-year plan that would see 20,000 units built across Quebec.

 

The greatest need, however, is on the island of Montreal, where the occupancy rate of existing social and low-cost housing units is 100 per cent.

 

"The challenge is enormous," said Michael Prescott, Montreal city council executive committee member. "We need the co-operation of all levels of government to assure stable financing if we are to realize our objectives by 2013."

 

Most of the funding is already secure.

 

The Quebec government has set aside $26 million a year under the five-year Accès Logis program to build new housing units and has earmarked another $96 million a year until 2013 to renovate and repair existing housing units under another infrastructure program, Habitations à loyer modique.

 

It appears the federal government is on board. On Sept. 4, the Harper government allocated $1.9 billion to extend programs to combat homelessness in Canada, including in Montreal, but in the middle of an election campaign, it hasn't bothered to tell anyone.

 

"We are well on our way to meeting our needs," said James McGregor, a vice-president with the Société d'habitation du Québec, the principal government agency responsible for affordable housing in Quebec.

 

"But we only found out about the federal government's participation through the CMHC website. It's a very curious thing."

 

No one from the department of Human Resources and Social Development was available to comment yesterday.

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