The 2018 Quebec budget promises funds for 3,000 new units of social housing, with the vast majority of the envisioned $273.7 million investment scheduled for after 2020. A more modest $5.2 million allocation will begin to be released this year to enable an additional 225 low-income tenants to rent accommodations in the private sector.
Both initiatives augment existing housing programs. More than 5,700 social housing units are nearing completion and another 7,600 are in the planning stages — all arising from previous provincial budget commitments. “Including the 3,000 new housing units announced, a total of 16,305 more social, community and affordable housing units will be available in the coming years,” the budget document states.
The new funding for rent supplements will bring the total number of low-income households subsidized to rent in the private market to 17,386. Recipients contribute a share of housing costs equal to 25 per cent of their income, while the subsidy covers the remainder. The 2018 budget stipulates that 150 of the new subsidies must be reserved for people who are currently homeless. The $5.2 million is to be dispersed over a multi-year period, providing rent supplements to at least 2023.
Funds have also been earmarked for programs that specifically target dilapidated rural and urban housing and emergency shelters. RénoRégion, a program to help low and modest-income rural homeowners correct major housing defects is promised $5 million over two years. Rénovation Québec, providing funds for urban municipalities to invest in stressed residential areas, is to receive $25 million over three years.
Another $2 million is expected to underwrite upgrades in about 180 housing units qualifying for the Shelter Enhancement Program. Non-profit organizations operating shelters for women and children fleeing the risk of family violence can apply for funding “to ensure the shelters are clean, safe and functional”.