Canada, Fighting the Housing Crisis in Montreal - SQUAT!

Squat Opened July 3rd 2002 2109 Nicolet (metro Pie- IX) A squat was opened today in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood of Montreal to take action against Montreal's housing crisis. The squat located at 2109 Nicolet Street represents one of the hundreds of apartments and buildings which remain empty despite Montrealıs housing crisis. The housing crisis which has put hundreds of families and individuals on the streets, is fueled by the intense gentrification of low-income neighborhoods and by political negligence on the part of the City of Montreal.

The Squat was opened mid-afternoon, after a demonstration organized by the community group, ADDS (the Association for the Defense of Social Rights), took to the streets denouncing the municipal, provincial and federal governments' lack of action taken to address the housing crisis. The demonstration was small in comparison to last years' Overdale squat action, but effective in getting across the urgency of the situation facing hundreds if not thousands in Montreal right now.

This action comes just a week after activists in Ottawa re-appropriated a building during the massive North-Eastern convergence against the G8 which took place June 26 & 27. As the Nicolet Street squat was opened today in Montreal, riot police in Ottawa brutalized, pepper sprayed and evicted squatters from the "7 Year Squat" opened during the "Take the Capital!" days of action in Ottawa.

Those involved with the Nicolet Street squat in Montreal have many ties to last years Overdale Squat action and have continued to fight against homelessness and gentrification throughout the year. Among those supporters present at the squat opening today, were a handful of people who remain dedicated to holding onto this piece of housing and are planning to stay the night. At this time people are occupying the apartment, cleaning and fixing up the newly re-appropriated residence.

The City of Montreal estimates that over 400 families have become homeless as of July 1st. This number only represents those documented by the city. There remain hundreds more who are not included in this estimate. The City of Montreal has provided some short-term residences for those without housing, but no long term solution. At this time there still remains many families & individuals on the street.

Last year the City of Montreal promised 5263 low income housing units and not one has been built. The City also stated that in the next five years, they would build 11,000 new units. As none of the low-income housing units that were promised have been built, the numbers of those finding themselves on the street are growing each day as the cities lack of action become ever apparent.

The spirit to fight against this housing crisis is alive and well in Montreal and todayıs action makes that clear. People are taking matters into their own hands and beginning to open the hundreds of buildings in Montreal which remain vacant while hundreds are on the streets. Come and show your support for the Nicolet Street Squat. Building supplies, food, furniture, money and support is needed.


stefan christoff <>

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