A strong foundation for social change
Community housing projects are powerful tools for social change because they are managed by and for residents.
Unfortunately, high upfront costs caused by real estate speculation coupled with rollbacks in government financing have limited the growth of community housing. Brick by Brick aims to fill this gap by providing a home for tenants who are seeking a supportive environment that promotes self-discovery, mutual-aid, and engagement with the wider community.
Why community housing?
Because nothing has a stronger impact on poverty than housing. In Montreal, one tenant out of ten spends over 80% of their income on rent.
The number of people in this situation has increased by 26% in less than a decade. Meanwhile the average rent for a 4 1/2 increased by 33%. Housing is a cornerstone in the fight against poverty.
Percentage of households in Montreal spending over 50% of their income on rent
Why in Parc Extension?
Parc Extension is home to a very diverse yet fragile community and is the site of the University of Montreal's MIL campus. This campus is the single largest development project in Montreal with the first pavilion set to open its doors in 2019. Brick by Brick aims to offset the pressure on property values and rents that this development project will have in the area. Currently there are only 55 low-income cooperative housing units here, compared to 431 in neighbouring Villeray. Meanwhile, nearly 1000 households in Parc Ex remain on the OMHM's waiting list for subsidised housing.
Because public funding for social housing is at an all time low. In Canada, over 1 million affordable and supportive housing units are now needed. With the average cost of building a unit of affordable housing at $200,000, over $200 billion should be spent to satisfy Canada’s affordable housing needs. In 2016, provincial and federal governments spent $2.9 billion on affordable housing, leaving a staggering funding gap.
Affordable housing funding gap
Brick by Brick
By creating collectively owned property in a part of town that is undergoing rapid development Brick by Brick will help to strengthen tenant communities and protect generations of residents against dislocation and isolation.
Brick by Brick will provide affordable, spacious, and well maintained apartments. But it will also provide childcare so that tenants can attend management meetings, a breakfast program open to non-residents, accessible indoor and outdoor common spaces, as well facilities and support for tenants looking to organize empowering activities that are undervalued in traditional institutions.
Why community bonds?
An innovative housing project that meets the needs of people who are marginalized by public policy requires an innovative financial model that recognizes the value of diversity and sees community building as an asset for social change and for economic prosperity.
Every year, Brick by Brick community bonds put $12 000 directly back into into low-income households through rent subsidies and save them over $10 000 in expenses on services.