Public health wants to prioritize housing

The Montreal Public Health Department is reviewing its priorities and tackling the housing crisis, after spending a year and a half focusing entirely on the health crisis.

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“For a year and a half, we have worked intensively on COVID, but at the same time, the rest of public health does not disappear,” says Dr David Kaiser, medical chief of the environmental health team of the Direction régionale de santé publique (DRSP) of Montreal in an interview with Journal. He says it is time for health authorities to look into the post-pandemic.

Thus, even if the DRSP is still occupied by COVID-19, it will “accelerate” reinvest in other public health issues in the coming months.

“We are very concerned about access to affordable housing,” says Mr. Kaiser, who wants to make this problem “exacerbated by the pandemic” a priority.

Since the start of the pandemic, more and more Montrealers have been evicted from their homes. And the Montreal area experienced its biggest rental increase since 2003.

“If you don’t have quality housing, that has an impact on physical health. If you can’t pay for your accommodation, that has an impact on mental health, on the ability to eat well, ”says Mr. Kaiser.

As the municipal elections quickly approach, he believes that the proposals of political parties are not up to the problem.

According to him, the waiting list for an HLM should be eliminated and the number of households having difficulty paying their rent should be reduced.

“What we see is that, yes, there are good ideas on the table, but we do not have an adequate level of ambition given the scale of the problem. “

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