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Housing needs: Rallying partners for a 2021 priority
Coaticook, March 19, 2021– Having rallied behind an extensive attractiveness strategy aimed at attracting new residents to the area, the Coaticook MRC, in collaboration with various local partners, has commissioned a major study to draw up an accurate picture of the region’s situation with respect to the housing supply. The study, conducted in 2020 by the Observatoire estrien du développement des communautés (OEDC), also included a component that sought to address the labour needs of businesses and the development aspirations of local municipalities, in addition to analyzing the needs of current residents to better respond to their housing challenges.
The main finding of the report of this study, submitted to the MRC Council on March 17, is a significant lack of housing in the MRC, both in terms of rental housing and homeownership, and for several types of clienteles, from seniors to large families, single people, workers, and more. In short, the offer must be improved and updated to meet present and future needs. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic context has ushered in an exponential increase in the demand for housing within Quebec’s regions, and the Coaticook MRC is no exception. “Access to housing in the context of a labour shortage is a key issue. Several interesting recommendations were put forward in this report. Let’s be creative! Together, we can apply sustainable solutions for everyone, so that our beautiful region can continue to prosper,” said Serge Gosselin, President of the SADC de la région de Coaticook.
The lack of quality, affordable housing was already a concern for community partners, as these issues have been repeatedly mentioned in the region’s various planning instruments, both in terms of economic and social development. “The study highlighted this worrying situation, especially for low-wage workers and people living in poverty. The data confirms the need for affordable housing, including social and cooperative housing. Thanks to the efforts of all partners, we will be able to not only meet the needs of the current and future population, but also initiate significant and lasting change that will have an impact on the community for years to come,” said Marjorie Tyroler, President of the Corporation de développement communautaire de la MRC de Coaticook.
Findings and opportunities
The Coaticook MRC and its partners will continue to proactively address housing and to make this issue a major priority for the year 2021. “Access to housing helps develop and maintain rich and welcoming living environments, both in our municipalities and more broadly in our MRC. In light of the recommendations set out in this study, we are in a better position to work with the various partners and developers to highlight opportunities and find concrete solutions with them in order to carry out several actions put forward in the report,” said Nathalie Dupuis, an elected official in charge of social and community development matters at the Coaticook MRC and Mayor of Waterville.
In the coming months, community partners will be working on a project to help hire a housing resource person who will oversee concrete actions in the coming year.
The study was made possible thanks to funding from the Société d’aide au développement de la collectivité (SADC) de la région de Coaticook, the MRC de Coaticook, and the Fonds québécois d’initiatives sociales (FQIS), administered by the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (MTESS) and managed by Concertation pour la Solidarité et l’Inclusion sociale (CSIS) de la MRC de Coaticook. The process surrounding this study was coordinated by the Coaticook MRC, with the support of a steering committee composed of the SADC and the CDC, and also required the participation of several partners in the community. The report on the housing needs study is available on the websites of the MRC de Coaticook, the SADC de la région de Coaticook, and the CDC de la MRC de Coaticook.