Local organization calls on the government to address the housing crisis in Gatineau
The organization Logemen'occupe, which works in the field of community assistance by advocating for affordable housing in Gatineau, is calling for an urgent meeting between the provincial and municipal governments in order to remedy the housing crisis that has been raging for several months in the region. François Roy, coordinator of Logemen'occupe, sent a ten-page letter to several politicians to address the housing crisis that continues to affect many Gatineau households. Among the recipients of this letter are Andrée Laforest, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Lionel Carmant, Minister of Health and Social Services, and France Bélisle, Mayor of Gatineau. Logemen'occupe would like to see a meeting organized as soon as possible, considering that the number of people, more specifically families, who are homeless is constantly increasing. The organization mentions that in Gatineau, 55 families are currently without a permanent place of residence and calls for concrete action in the support and assistance available to them - and to all those who are currently struggling to find housing in Quebec's fourth largest city.
According to Logemen'occupe's letter, proximity to Ottawa is partly to blame when it comes to factors influencing the cost of housing in Gatineau, which is becoming one of the highest in Quebec. In fact, since 2019, Gatineau is a city that has recorded one of the most significant increases in rent prices in Quebec, with an average rent between $1500 and $1800 per month for a one or two-bedroom apartment in 2022. In comparison, on the Ottawa side, it costs between 1675-2000$ per month for housing. The organization indicates through its letter that the exodus of families and citizens from Ontario to the province of Quebec to take advantage of cheaper rents is inevitable. "Gatineau is close to Ottawa where the cost of housing is much higher than on the other side of the Ottawa River. Many Ontario households are therefore tempted to move to Gatineau, which increases the scarcity of rental units and contributes to the rise in rents," says Logemen'occupe.
As for the City of Gatineau, a shock committee for housing was created earlier this year to address the housing crisis in the region. Led by Daniel Champagne, Councilor for the Du Versant district and President of the Commission du développement du territoire et de l'habitation, the committee is composed of the Mayor, municipal councillors, as well as organizations and businesses in the housing sector. With the summer vacation period for City Council well underway, Mario Aubé, Councillor for the Masson-Angers district and Chair of the Planning Advisory Committee, acting as Acting Mayor, mentioned to the local media that Logemen'occupe had attended only one of the meetings of the shock committee and is inviting representatives of the organization to join the next meeting. The creation of the housing shock committee earned Gatineau an official invitation to the Housing Summit 2022, which will take place in Laval on August 26, under the theme "Our future in mind".
Photo caption: François Roy, coordinator of Logemen'occupe
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Réseau québécois des OSBL d'habitation (RQOH)