In the face of escalating global inflation, the housing crisis in Greater Montreal is intensifying, leaving approximately 360,000 households, or nearly one-fifth of the total, unable to afford essential needs after paying for housing. With their budgets already in deficit at the start of each month, these households’ combined annual shortfall amounts to an estimated $3.6 billion.
The Domino Effect of Housing Crisis Amid Global Inflation
This alarming data is based on the concept of residual income, an indicator that Centraide of Greater Montreal will use annually to assess the extent of the crisis. This information was revealed at the Together for Housing event, an initiative that united more than 400 community stakeholders, including citizens, businesses, and representatives from all government levels, to develop sustainable solutions for vulnerable individuals affected by the housing crisis.
Claude Pinard, President and Executive Director of Centraide of Greater Montreal, highlighted the social impact of the crisis, stating that it’s not just about constructing homes but also about the people affected and the deteriorating communities. The high cost of housing puts enormous pressure on low-income households, leading to a domino effect on other critical social issues such as child development, mental health, food security, domestic violence, and homelessness.
Centraide, in collaboration with community agencies, public health officials, cities, governments, and researchers, has partnered with McKinsey Montréal for over a decade. They have volunteered to provide an in-depth analysis and develop a tool that captures the evolving nature of the housing crisis. Residual income, the money remaining after households cover their rent and essential needs, will be used as a primary tracking indicator. A negative budget forces individuals to rely on community aid or risk their health and safety.
Residual Income: An Indicator to Measure the Housing Crisis
Every year, this metric will monitor the number of households living on insufficient income and gauge the size of their budget deficit. This data will allow us to observe the impact of collective efforts to combat the housing crisis and make necessary adjustments.
The Together for Housing initiative, which began in Spring 2022, culminated in an extensive dialogue with diverse stakeholders. After examining the situation, a diverse working group identified 115 barriers and options related to housing issues. Centraide, in collaboration with the Foundation of Greater Montreal and the Institut du Québec, released the Vital Signs on Housing report in November, detailing the housing situation and its impacts, particularly on disadvantaged households.
Centraide: A Catalyst for Change Amid the Housing Crisis
As a catalyst for change, Centraide of Greater Montreal operates in Laval, Montreal, and the South Shore, supporting over 350 agencies and collective projects annually. Thanks to the support of businesses, organizations, and the general public, Centraide invested $59.1 million in community initiatives last year, which represents over 88% of the funds raised from its annual campaign. These efforts help over 800,000 individuals each year.