Here's which Quebec regions have had vacant units.
The government is lifting the income requirement for vacant Quebec low-cost housing units with the aim of making them available to more people, particularly seniors, families and people living alone. In a January 26 announcement, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said the rule change takes effect immediately and applies when there is no waitlist for social housing in a given municipality.
According to the Société d'habitation du Québec (SHQ), low-cost housing (HLM) residents' rent and heating costs correspond to 25% of their income.
The ministry hopes the new measure will "promote optimal occupancy of social housing units that have been vacant for more than two years."
"This new flexibility that I am announcing today makes it easier to access social housing," Minister Andrée Laforest said.
"It is really a matter of common sense; the rules must evolve, especially at a time when vacancy rates remain low in many regions."
"These units that have been heated, lit and vacant for several years, we want to see them inhabited!"
Previously, eligibility for HLM units was based on a standardized income limit for determining need (PRBI), which varies by region. Starting today, the ministry is allowing these income limits to be exceeded in areas where there are lots of vacant units and no waitlist. The income caps will continue to be respected in areas where demand for HLM units is higher.
As of September 10, 2021, nearly 280 HLM units were vacant in the Capitale-Nationale, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Centre-du-Québec, Côte-Nord, Nord-du-Québec, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Chaudière-Appalaches regions, according to the SHQ.
Units range in size from one to five bedrooms.
The ministry is reminding Quebecers that they can apply for an HLM unit in regions other than the one where they currently live.
"We are increasing the supply of housing in Quebec, but we must also ensure that all the tools are in place to allow households in need to have adequate housing, and this is what we are doing once again," Laforest said.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.