As a study reveals, the craze about Quebec's Limoilou District over the last few years has not been without consequences for the less fortunate residents already living there. Still, the presence of many units of social housing limits tensions between the two groups.
Titled "Limoilou: A Place of Many Faces," the study was carried out by the Integrated Territorial Approach (ATI) of Limoilou, a local organization that fights poverty. It is the product of a consultation held with 40 people; 38 percent of whom consider themselves poor.
These people were brought together through the district's community organizations. The majority of respondents are between the ages of 51 and 65 and live alone. "There are more and more condos and less and less rental housing," deplored one of the people consulted. "The fear is that the new services created are for a wealthy clientele."
Many do not have the means to buy things at the new stores that have cropped up on the main street (3rd Avenue). Yet, they anticipate the changes anyways. "There is nothing on 3rd Avenue for us. It's too expensive. It's not for us, but it makes for a very pretty walk."
Still, mass transit and green space options reinforce peoples' quality of life. But it's the kind of dwelling that makes the difference," according to Sebastien St-Onge, in charge of the project responsible for the study. "Limoilou is well-equipped with social housing. We want to establish this and note it in broad strokes."
Many of the people who participated in the consultations had few means but enjoyed a nice quality of life thanks to their social housing. "They had stronger family connections, a more developed friendship network, and because they paid less for their housing than those who live in private quarters, they did not see themselves as being poor."
Beyond 3rd Avenue and Old-Limoilou, the portrait that emerged from ATI also documents the reality of districts less well-known than Limoilou, like Maizerets and Lairet where there is a marked immigrant presence. In Maizerets, some of the people consulted deplore the lack of local services and social housing. In Lairet, where the urban planning looks more suburban, they lament the lack of meeting places and community activities. ATI and community organizations plan on using the document to direct their actions over the course of the coming years.
Is there social or affordable housing in your community? Do you agree with offering affordable housing to lower income populations? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Original article, originally published in French in Le Devoir, here.
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