Investing in social housing the solution to Quebec’s housing crisis: study

“All the levels of government are responsible,” said Louis Gaudreau, the co-author of a new study that concludes that social housing is the solution to the current housing crisis in Montreal and the rest of Quebec.

Social housing is the solution to the current housing crisis in Montreal and the rest of Quebec, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS) believe low-cost housing would be more effective than loosening regulations for developers constructing new condos and houses in the private sector.

“Our study shows that for the past 20 years, even if there was regulation, the industry has invested a record level of capital in housing construction, housing renovation as well,” said IRIS researcher Louis Gaudreau.

“Our conclusion is that maybe if there’s a need right now for more construction and faster housing construction, maybe we need to think over the way we build and the way we invest in housing construction, making more room for public investment in non-market housing.”

Gaudreau, one of the co-authors of the study, says “all levels of government” should be investing more in social housing.

“But they should have different responsibilities,” he said. “So the municipalities, they could do what they started to do in the last few years: acquiring land, acquiring buildings as well. But the funding, the most part of the funding needs to come from provincial and federal government because that’s where the money is.”

Condo being built in Griffintown on June 23, 2024. (Alan Sukonnik, CityNews)

Gaudreau adds the current housing crisis in Quebec is not just impacting lower-income families, but middle-income households as well. He stresses that affordable housing should be based on income, not in relation to the market.

“For the past years, affordable housing has begun to be calculated in terms of market rents,” he explained. “So I think that for new affordable housing to keep being affordable, we need to go back to the previous idea of affordable housing, which is housing… rent that is calculated in relation to people’s income and that is lower than 30 per cent of the household’s income.”

IRIS is focused on researching public policies and the economy.

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