More social housing needed in Robert Baldwin

Some renters paying 80% of their salary for rent

By Kevin Woodhouse

“Austerity measures by the government shouldn’t include measures that do not respect the rights for those with lower income and the working poor,” François Saillant said concerning the finance minister’s upcoming budget.

The coordinator for FRAPRU, a social housing advocacy group, released a statement to Minister of Finance and Robert Baldwin MNA Carlos Leitão asking the minister to “make the fight against poverty a major project for the government” Saillant told The Suburban.

Noting that in Leitão’s riding, almost a third of all residents rent rather than own and a third of those renters, 2,970 in total, spend more than 30 per cent of their total monthly income on rent, with others paying almost 80 per cent of their earned salary on lodging.

“There needs to be more social housing programs but we are not sure if the next budget will allow any help for those in need, particularly people with mental health issues, single parent families, seniors on fixed income and the homeless,” said Saillant.

Before Leitão releases the next Liberal government budget, Saillant hopes the minister reflects on the lack of social housing available in his own riding. “the other problem for people with low income who rent is that in Dollard des Ormeaux and Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Mr. Leitão’s riding, rents are generally higher than average.”

According to FRAPRU’s statistics, rents in the Robert-Baldwin riding are 15 per cent higher than average at an average cost of $739. But by building more social housing units, “each dollar the Quebec government invests into social housing programs like AccèsLogis, $2.30 is injected back into the province’s economy through jobs in construction, manufacturing and other sectors,” the release noted.

“If people have to work just to pay their rent,without more social housing the province will only see more people in poverty, not less,” said Saillant.

Despite reaching Carlos Leitão’s riding office, The Suburban did not receive a response by press time.

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