The rules that protect tenants are “no longer sufficient” in the face of the housing crisis, according to Valérie Plante, who wants to see the proportion of non-private housing tripled in the metropolis. A response, among other things, to the homelessness crisis.

“I would not say that the model is broken, but I am convinced that we can no longer afford, as a big city, to rely on the market,” she said in an interview with La Presse Friday.

For two weeks, Ms. Plante has been traveling through neighborhoods to announce parts of her housing offensive. More inspections, a target deadline for issuing certain building permits, 21 million for student housing.

But the most fundamental change of vision proposed by the mayor went somewhat unnoticed at the end of May. By submitting a report from a working committee along the same lines, the mayor announced her desire to focus heavily on public, community or cooperative housing.

There are some 67,000 housing units of this type in Montreal in 2024, representing 7% of the rental housing stock. Ms. Plante would like to see this proportion double within 10 years and triple by 2050. Objectives which would require a very significant acceleration in the pace of project development. And the full support of Quebec and Ottawa.

“It’s something that we should have done well before, quite honestly,” argued the mayor, agreeing that her plan was extremely ambitious. “The number one reason people end up on the streets is because they don’t have a roof over their heads. » Faced with doubts, Ms. Plante is putting forward the planned development of the land of the former racecourse with 10,000 off-market housing units. “The federal government said it, the provincial government said it,” she assured.

The private sector can get involved in this objective, said Valérie Plante, emphasizing in broad strokes that the real estate industry was represented on the committee which recommended this avenue.

However, it is not because we live in off-market housing that we are well housed: La Presse reported last Friday the situation of Habitations Marie-Victorin, in the east of Montreal, where social housing is located in very poor condition. “It is out of the question that people are in such unsanitary housing,” she decided, while her housing manager demanded that the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal (OMHM) find them a place to live. new roof.

But non-market housing is not limited to HLM, argued the mayor. “In our vision,” she said, “non-market housing is going to be quality housing. »

The idea of ​​housing one in five Montreal tenants in a non-private apartment has been eclipsed, in public space, by the increasing delays in issuing construction permits for new buildings by the City. La Presse revealed that these delays have doubled in several sectors of Montreal since 2019, including in the city center. A particularly problematic deterioration in the midst of a housing shortage.

This objective will serve as a benchmark and could lead to more robust measures when deadlines drag on, she suggested in an interview. “That’s never what we want, because I respect the boroughs a lot, but there is a way to bring certain skills back to the central city if necessary,” she said. spear. “But I’m not there,” she immediately added, saying she preferred to start with transparency measures that would allow everyone to identify “the bad students.”

No major regulatory simplification in sight, however.

“I like to remind you that you don’t build in a potato field,” she said. We are in a built environment, with a lot of density, with heritage. There are things that people are attached to. I think there are people who will say that things need to go faster, but at the same time, we should not neglect heritage protection or flood prevention.