CAPE releases a platform to map evictions in Parc-Extension
Amid an increasingly frantic housing and rental market, many tenants in Parc-Extension are being priced out of the neighbourhood they have long called home. Activists and residents have been pressuring the government for more robust measures, like rent registries, to help combat the phenomenon.
The Parc-Ex Anti-Eviction Mapping Project hopes to do just that, with the release of its new online platform that maps evictions and rent increases throughout Parc-Extension. Using data compiled by local organization Comité d’Action de Parc-Extension, the collective created two separate interactive maps.
The first map displays both the locations and reasons behind evictions in the neighbourhood, as well as the last price paid by the tenant. The second map revolves around community initiatives that aim to counter the crisis in Parc-Ex, featuring various interviews and information.
“The Parc-Extension Anti-Eviction Mapping Project aims to raise awareness about the effects of gentrification in Parc-Extension and other neighbourhoods in Montreal.” wrote the organization in a statement, adding it wanted to hold politicians, businesses and other institutions “accountable for their impact on gentrification.”
Evictions and gentrification
The project was launched last Thursday at Parc Metro with the projection of two films. The first highlighted the eviction mapping project, which displays a variety of properties where people have been evicted or renovicted in the neighbourhood, using data compiled since 2017.
This includes information on repossessions, evictions to enlarge, subdivide or change the use of a dwelling or major renovations and to generally keep track of the number of evictions happening in the area. CAPE stated that in 2021 alone the number of evictions reported to them had doubled.
“We have witnessed a significant increase in requests for support from tenants since 2017,” said Sepideh Shahamati, member of the Parc-Extension Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, adding that “evictions were mostly concentrated in the south of the neighbourhood between 2017 and 2019, but are taking place throughout the neighbourhood since 2020.”
The group nonetheless highlighted that this was only “the tip of the iceberg” as many evictions and repossessions still went unreported to CAPE.
The second map developed in the project shows some of the efforts of residents and local organizations at fighting residential displacement, gentrification and landlord abuses. These include videos, interviews and the locations of various organizations.
The map highlights the work of residents in developing campaigns to push the city to acquire land for social housing and in creating initiatives to provide new community spaces. Users can watch interviews with activists and get more information on community organizations.
“Neighbourhood residents have been mobilizing to respond to the housing crisis, as we’ve seen with the creation of the Coopérative Un Monde Uni and the struggle for the acquisition of 700 Jarry West,” said Adama Diallo, member of the Coopérative Un Monde Uni board of directors.
“The Cooperative is ready to develop a project with social housing and community spaces, which will meet the needs of Parc-Extension tenants,” added Diallo as an example.
Although the organizations behind the project hope to help better represent the issues that many Parc-Extension residents face, they also posit that more has to be done legislatively at both the municipal and provincial levels to truly address the problem.
“We need strong, concrete measures right now to better protect tenants on the private market, both in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec,” said Marion Duval, community organizer at the Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ).
“Rent control is one of the best strategies to rein in evictions since the majority of them are motivated by the desire to drastically raise rent,” she added. “There is also growing interest in establishing a lease registry at the municipal level, but we also need the provincial government to take responsibility and implement a national lease registry,” said Duval.
As more data is gathered by CAPE, the contents of the map will grow. “Evictions are increasing in the neighbourhood, but residents are organizing and resisting the housing crisis. The two maps seek to highlight both the depth of the problem and the solutions put forward by tenants,” said Celia Dehouche, community organizer at CAPE.