After paying their rent and meeting their basic needs, what do tenants have left each month? According to data provided by Centraide, the number of households who find themselves in the red after paying these basic expenses increased between 2022 and 2023 in Montreal.

“I think the next three years are going to be even more difficult. I’m a little scared,” says without restraint the president and general director of Centraide of Greater Montreal, Claude Pinard.

A household needed to earn $31,000 to be able to pay basic expenses and have money left over afterward, according to the 2023 results of the Residual Balance Indicator.

Data compiled by Centraide and the firm McKinsey 

Still in 2023, approximately 310,000 households in Greater Montreal did not earn this amount, and therefore had a negative residual balance.

According to the organization’s estimates, 18,000 more households than in 2022 will be short of money at the end of the month to pay for their essential needs.

Unless you deprive yourself once the rent is paid.

This is the case of Sophie Laramée, a single mother. “I actually live on borrowed money,” she shares. She and her two daughters, aged 16 and 8, have lived in housing in the southwest of Montreal since 2019.

She earns about $2,200 a month, including child benefits. The cost of his six and a half room apartment is $1,850 each month. That leaves him with $350 left for other expenses. What does she deprive herself of the most? The food, without a shadow of a doubt.

“I’m going slowly,” she says. I didn’t think I’d say that today, at 45 years old. I feel like the first time I went grocery shopping, at age 20, and had to calculate. »

Food, homelessness, mental health, educational success: Centraide, which supports 375 community organizations and projects, has observed a considerable increase in demand in all sectors, explains Claude Pinard.

He points out that requests from food banks no longer occur until the end of the month, but are now an integral part of the daily life of certain families and begin on the seventh or eighth day of the month.

Véronique Laflamme, spokesperson for the Popular Action Front in Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU), is not surprised by the results of the analysis. “For us, the heart of the issue is affordability, not just the number of homes available,” she says.

“I have to cut back on the children’s extracurricular activities, they feel it,” reveals Ms. Laramée, who is frequently overcome by moments of anxiety. “I don’t know where all this is going. »

According to the results of the Centraide analysis, if Ms. Laramée earns $26,400 annually, she is short on average $460 per month to be able to meet her basic expenses.

“In the end, it’s [my daughters] who pay for that,” adds Sophie Laramée.

If Ms. Laramée has about $350 a month to meet her family’s basic needs, once the rent is paid, she could see that amount reduced even further. His landlord recently sent him a notice of an increase…of $100 per month. Which she refused.

While waiting for her hearing at the Administrative Housing Tribunal (TAL), the Montrealer considered finding new accommodation that could accommodate her family. But she soon felt deprived of choices.

“I realize that no matter how hard I look, it’s going to be in the same price range. Even for a four and a half, it’s the same price,” she confides.

She is afraid of the repercussions of her actions before the TAL on her relationship with her landlord, but also on her finances, since she will have to be absent from work, with no guarantee of the expected result. Her 8-year-old daughter requires follow-up with various specialists once or twice a week, Ms. Laramée cannot work as many hours as before since she has to accompany her.

“I hope I’m heard,” she said. I don’t want to go away. »

According to the most recent data from the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS), the disposable income of a single person working full-time at minimum wage (as of May 1, 2023) is $25,290.