Sherbrooke ­renters still looking for 20 ­apartments

By Gordon Lambie

In the lead up to July 1, the Sherbrooke’s renters’ association raised the alarm about 32 local households still in need of a place to live. As of Wednesday, spokesperson Alain Roy said that number has decreased to 25, with five of those likely to sign a lease soon.
“The situation is slowly improving,” he said, explaining that those people without a place to live at the moment are being temporarily housed by the city.
Although a week has gone by since the beginning of the month, Roy said that there is often a disconnect between the date a lease is posted for and an apartment actually being ready.
“We are working intensively on visits,” he added explaining that the renters’ association team is currently on a blitz of accompanying people to visit apartments. At the same time the city and the association have put out several calls to local landlords to share information about available spaces. Anyone with information to chare on that front is invited to contact the association by calling 819 791-1541.
One of the greatest challenges facing local renters, according to Roy, is that of finding a living space which does not require an unreasonable amount of a person’s income.
“When someone is paying 70 per cent of their income to their lease, there is no room for any unforeseen expense,” the spokesperson pointed out.
Roy also said that the association has a number of concerns related to the decision by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to lift the eviction ban that was put in place earlier this year.
“During the pandemic, the health minister of the time banned evictions for public health reasons,” Roy said, explaining that the policy was a big relief to people who found themselves unexpectedly unable to pay rent in April or May because of job loss or other pandemic-related issues. With hearings now restarting at the regie de logement, Quebec’s housing board, he said that people could now find themselves out on the streets in as little as two weeks’ time.
“Once a judgement is rendered, people have 11 days to get out,” Roy said, warning of the growing likelihood of a “second wave” of the housing shortage near the end of the month. “These are people who are at greater risk,” he added, noting that once someone has an eviction on their record it becomes much harder to find a new place to live.

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