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Update and Responses to our Letter on Why Women Should be a Priority for Social Housing

January 6th, 2021
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In October of 2020, the TGFM published an open letter supported by 48 organizations responding to the long-awaited agreement between Ottawa and Quebec securing funds from the federal government to increase and sustain available social housing through the National Housing Strategy. This agreement stated that Quebec could distribute funding based on its priorities. Given our concerns that women are not a real priority for the CAQ government, we wrote an open letter to the government.

In the letter, we demanded that women, in all their diversity, be considered a priority for social housing by the Quebec government. We understand this to mean that funds received by Quebec through the National Housing Strategy should include a real intersectional differential gender-based analysis (GBA+) for all of the actions, programs and policies developed to support access to housing, specifically by earmarking 25% of the funds to initiatives that respond to the needs of women, girls and their families.

Following this letter, we met with the three opposition parties to share our concerns and inform them about the many housing issues experienced by women, supported by our Portrait of Housing Issues Experienced by Montreal Women. A written question was also sent to the National Assembly to request an answer to our demands.

In mid-December, we finally received an answer from Minister Laforest. She defended herself by stating that she was sensitive to women's needs, citing some measures adopted over the years as part of a 2018-2023 government action plan on intimate-partner violence, as well as the past two provincial budgets.

We also learned that Quebec never signed onto the National Housing Stategy (NHS). As a result, the government isn’t subject to the 25% target of housing for women, girls and their families. According to "Quebec's priorities", the federal funding will go to the AccèsLogis program. For the time being, Quebec has not determined target populations for social housing development. However, it is possible that the government will develop a housing action plan to determine how the funds will be attributed. We need to put pressure on the government to ensure that this action plan uses a GBA+ analysis so that groups can finally develop new projects that better respond to women's needs in all their diversity.

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