Was this unexpected? This year, Quebec media didn’t wait until July 1st to point out the shortage of available, affordable and safe housing. In Montreal, it’s a veritable crisis, resulting from a situation exacerbated by the pandemic, which impacted mostly women, and to an even greater extent, single-parent women, women who are young, old, immigrants or racialized, Indigenous or women who have a disability. The YWCA Montreal has long taken an interest in this issue, and we provide both facts on and solutions to this problem.

The facts

We are witnessing a veritable congestion of emergency housing resources in Montreal because of the glaring housing crisis. Furthermore, of the emergency housing resources, very few are dedicated to women: Only 16% in Montreal. 1

Did you know?

  • According to the CMHC, 2020 saw its highest rent increase since 2003 at 4.2%; 2
  • The average salary of women is 89% that of men;
  • Women live longer, remain alone longer, and are poorer;
  • In 81.4% of single-parent families in Montreal, the mother manages the household (2016);
  • One out of three single mothers lives below the poverty line;
  • 16.9% of women in this sector have lost their job since the start of this crisis.
  • Racialized women and women with children are often subject to discrimination. The more children a woman has, the greater the discrimination.
  • 59% of women with limited mobility or living with a disability live in conditions of poverty. In addition to housing not suited to their reality, they find it difficult to pay for suitable housing. 3

Moving towards an upgraded transitional residence

What can be done to break the cycle of homelessness among women and reduce their chances of falling back into this cycle?

Answer: Women need to have access to safe spaces where they can once again find stability, rebuild their confidence and settle for a longer period in order to get re-established. The YWCA is preparing to upgrade its services as part of its 2023 Plan for the Future.

Yes, in 2023, we will have a transformed and remodelled transitional residence, one that will have everything needed to provide women, their children, family or caregivers with the safety, quality of life, type of housing, and time they need to get re-established. This project will be able to house almost twice as many women (± 100 units) as our current residence.