KSCS playing waiting game on Rustik project

The Rustik social-housing project, which will have a minimum of five units set aside for vulnerable Kahnawake community members, will be a great way to house single people or couples in need of housing and support services – but figuring out who will get those units hasn’t quite started yet, an organizer said last week.

“We haven’t yet determined who will get those units because the project isn’t quite complete yet, and we don’t want to give those who need housing a false sense of hope just yet, on the off chance they have to wait longer to get into their units,” if construction on the project stretches longer into the new year than anticipated, Kahnawake Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services Mental Wellness and Addictions manager Alana Kane explained.

Last week, the head of the agency in charge of the construction on the project could be delayed by two or three weeks. This project would see the venerable Rustik motel and reception hall in Chateauguay transformed into 50 social-housing apartments with a common space for residents and mental-health support services on site – and a minimum of five of those units will be reserved for Kahnawake community members.

Given the ongoing housing crisis in the community, Kane said, the project will be a good way to help single people or couples get some level of stability and support.

“Given the small size of the units, we’re not going to be placing families there, given the location and the circumstances. These are small units and they’re not appropriate for families,” she said.

Despite the project not yet being complete, Kane said, it has already borne fruit for Kahnawake families.

As a part of the Rustik project planning committee, Kane said, she has been able to spend time working alongside other social-housing advocates who are well-versed in finding and securing housing for vulnerable candidates.

“The planning committee has been a great resource for knowing where and how to find subsidized housing and we were able to place a Kahnawake family that needed an apartment,” in one of the neighbouring South Shore suburbs recently, she said.

“That was a great example of how the Rustik project is paying off for Kahnawake community members, even though the project is not yet complete” Kane said.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase