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A community cooperative project that has been in the works for five years is crushed

A community cooperative project that has been in the works for five years is crushed

A citizen-created housing cooperative project that has been in the works for five years by Mission Unitaînés, and which was announced with great fanfare last month, has been swept up by the federal and provincial governments.

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“I can no longer move and find an apartment big enough for me and my children, because private rentals are expensive in the area!” “This cooperative was supposed to come to meet my needs and the needs of many families in the Mercier Oriental region,” says Yasmina Burki, a single mother of 35 years old.

The latter is part of a group of 17 people who wanted to found the housing cooperative “L'Espagne de l'Est”, which would have included 60 large apartments on land designated for social housing.

But their project ultimately failed because the non-profit organization Misson Unitaînés will announce in the coming days the construction of 100 affordable housing units for seniors, we learned. Newspaper.

Last February, the provincial and federal governments announced they were embarking on a race to quickly build 1,000 units of affordable housing for seniors in just 24 months with the help of Morris Group.

Lack of funding

Initially, approximately 80 affordable housing units were to be built on the land located in the massive Cours Bellerive project by developer Prével. But due to lack of regional funding, construction did not take place.

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Two years later, the land was transferred to the Borough of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and the City of Montreal for $1,080,000, plus taxes, in January 2024.

Photo by Clara Loiseau

Organizations and citizens were happy to see this takeover by the municipality, hoping to see the collaborative project come to fruition, explains Lily Bergeron, community organizer at Infologis de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal. The organization helped citizens establish the cooperative.

So the arrival of a bigger player brought great disappointment.

“It's not the project itself that's not good, but the way it was done,” she explains. The citizens have worked hard to develop a project that resembles them and adapts to the neighborhood, and it is unfortunate to see a group arriving without consulting anyone.”

Inappropriate programme

For the latter, this also proves that Quebec's new affordable housing program (PHAQ) does not allow for the realization of projects from the community.

M saysI Bergeron.

“I feel like a big boot just crushed an anthill. It's a race for territory and community projects are clearly losing.

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