Worried about the lack of commitments for social housing in Lévis, community groups are running out of patience and asking for answers.
"We are tired of waiting. It is a cry of alarm that is launched, so to speak, "says Edith St-Hilaire, from ACEF Rive-Sud de Québec. The representative of the Lévis Collaboration Housing Group decried the situation of social and community housing in Lévis.
"Since 2016, the City has not set aside money to build new social housing projects. We are told that we are coming up with a development plan and a housing policy, but we are constantly being pushed back, "says Mme St-Hilaire.
Community organizations are asking for concrete commitments from the City. The projects that are emerging right now have been planned before 2016, she says. As it takes up to 60 months for a project to be realized, Mme St-Hilaire is concerned that no new housing will be added in 2020 and 2021.
Yet, the needs are great. Currently, 300 families are on the waiting list of the Municipal Housing Office, which is only the tip of the iceberg, says Edith St-Hilaire. In Lévis, approximately 4,500 families spend more than 30% of their budget on housing.
"It is estimated that with 125 housing units per year in the coming years, we would be able to maintain a rate of development and cover needs," she added.
At the City of Lévis, the Deputy Director General for Sustainable Development, Dominic Deslauriers agrees that in recent years, no project has been added. But he says that the municipality has taken a pause and reflection "to develop a strategy to properly meet the needs of citizens." For him, the answer does not necessarily mean construction. He thinks of other ways, such as the financing of already existing housing and the help for renovation. This could be part of the solutions proposed by the municipal committee already in place, which is expected to make its findings early next year.
"We will be ready and we will know where we want to go. But we want to be sure we do it well, "said Mr. Deslauriers, who says the city is not taking the situation lightly.
In the next three years, he says, four projects that were already in the cards before 2016 will see the light of day, for a total of $ 3.5 million. "We want to be innovative," says the senior municipal official.