Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said on Thursday that she was proud of her administration's housing record, although only a third of the housing she promised to build in 2017 was finally built.
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"Yes, we are proud, because since day 1 of our arrival at City Hall in 2017, we have invested a lot of time and resources to better accommodate Montrealers and ensure that they stay at home. Montreal, supported the mayor during a city council meeting. We never skimped on the effort.”
On Monday, our Bureau of Investigation revealed that of the 13,122 social and affordable housing units that the Plante administration claims to have "made" or "realized" in four years, there is only a maximum of 4,237 new housing units which were built.
The mayor defended her tally once again on Thursday.
“Le Journal de Montréal used a different technique to count. It is valid, they have the right to count different things, ”said Ms. Plante
A large part of the mayor's balance sheet, more than 4,000 housing units, is made up of subsidies for the purchase of houses that already existed before Valérie Plante came to power.
“When we know that there are 5,000 families who have been able to count on direct subsidies to stay in Montreal, for us that counts. We have always been extremely clear and transparent,” she said.
Recall that in 2017, Projet Montréal had promised to “build a minimum” of 6,000 social housing units and 6,000 affordable housing units.
In 2018, the Plante administration indicated that there would be home ownership and renovation grants in the lot. Their share of the total count had been set at less than 4,000 homes.
At the last count, these two subsidies total 6,409 housing units on the Plante administration's balance sheet.
"Inflate the numbers"
Opposition leader Aref Salem, for his part, believes that the Plante administration has inflated its figures.
“When we are transparent, we do not count duplicate accommodation. When we are transparent, we do not count rooms as dwellings, ”he said in reference to the findings of our Bureau of Investigation.
"Transparency is when you can't deliver a promise, to say to Montrealers straight in the eye: 'We apologize, we didn't succeed'. But not to inflate the figures”, added Mr. Salem.
Our Bureau of Investigation also found that nearly 230 affordable housing units that had never been built were included in the balance sheet.
The City has also removed them from its balance sheet following our publication.