Table de Concentration Sur les Maisons de Chambres

Year Published:  1984
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX3011

The TABLES DE CONCERTATION SUR LES MAISONS DE CHAMBRES has been working for the past few years to preserve and ameliorate housing conditions for single low-income people in Montreal's downtown areas.

These people are senior citizens, welfare recipients, ex-psychiatric patients and minimum wage earners who want and need to stay in familiar neighbourhoods where they have lived for years. The proximity to social services, out-patient clinics and community cnetres is also of vital importance.

Speculation and lack of municipal policies to protect rooming houses, which is the main housing form for these people, has created a crisis. Over 40 per cent of the rooming house stock in Montreal has disappeared over the past five years. the city centre is being emptied of its long-time residents to make way for luxury condominiums, boutiques and restaurants.

As a result, some of these residents are paying more for shoddier accommodations far from familiar neighbourhoods. Worse yet, some of those on the bottom rung of the housing ladder have been knocked off altogether, to join the ever increasing ranks of Montreal's homeless, a fact to which the city's hostels can testify.

Hostels, however, are only a short-term solution. By their very nature they can only provide food and shelter and can't possibly hope to replace the community infrastructure of friendships, services, and conveniences. The 40-year old man who shows up on the steps of one of these hostels in need of overnight shelter has a housing problem not only for that evening but for the next 20 to 30 years of his life.

In keeping with this philosophy the TABLE is presently collaborating with the city's hostels and missions to prepare for a fall meeting with the civic administration to discuss the rooming house problem.

Negotiations are also going on at the provincial level to improve existing subsidy prrograms, and the TABLE is also investigating the possibility of setting up "bridge-funding" to help projects that need immidiate cash to purchase rooming houses.

Three member organization and their staff have individual projects on the go as well. Benefitting from the support of strong community oriented boards these non-profit housing organizations all have recent developments to share.

Most of its efforts are learning by trial and error - and the TABLE's along with other cities' experiences need to be shared and reflected upon in order to strenghen our abiity to get affordable, decent housing.

This abstract was published in the Connexions Digest in 1984.
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