The impact of the housing crisis on PSL organizations

Marie-Noëlle L’Ésperance, Dans la rue’s Director of Prevention, Intervention and Clinic Services, was recently interviewed by La Presse for an article on the Quebec government’s Rent Supplement Program (PSL). The article reported that the current housing crisis and resulting shortage of apartments in the private market is making it difficult for organizations that administer the PSL to find homes for people in need. The program enables low-income households to pay rent equivalent to 25% of total income for an apartment in the private rental market, in a housing co-op or belonging to a non-profit organization, with the difference covered by the government.

Housing for needy households increasingly difficult to find

Marie-Noëlle explained that Dans la rue has been allocated 48 PSL units under this program. But she went on to say that, after making 96 requests to visit privately owned apartments last spring, counsellors were able to view only four, and only one lease was signed in the end. In recent months, of the 20 young users of Dans la rue’s services who have qualified for the PSL, a mere seven have managed to secure housing. The staff at PSL-administering community organizations all agree that a rent subsidy is of little use when available apartments are few and far between. The severe housing shortage is also leading to more homelessness. Marie-Noëlle provided the example of one young man who has qualified for the PSL through Dans la rue but is currently sleeping on the streets because, in spite of his best efforts, he has not yet found a place to live.