Mainbourg Corporation: Community Housing in Pointe-aux-Trembles

Lignes de désir

In the second episode of the Lignes de désir podcast Sustainable Development, we discuss different approaches to and ways of imagining neighbourhood revitalization. This includes integrating existing residents and creating housing for and alongside them. Understanding that residents are what makes a neighbourhood unique.

That’s what the Mainbourg Corporation wanted to prioritize in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

In May 2021, Montréal announced that it would invest $2 million into a new social housing project: Mainbourg-Honoré-Beaugrand Community Housing, a project by the Mainbourg Corporation to design a new residence for young 50+ retirees.”[1]

The Mainbourg Corporation was already working as a developer and managing rental housing in Pointe-aux-Trembles and is now a figurehead in community housing in East Montréal. Habitations Mainbourg has over 30 housing units for families, bachelors and retirees. The latest instalment involved building two residences: the Centre Sainte-Germaine-Cousin (122 units) and Habitation Mainbourg (79 units), housing individuals selected according to specific criteria in a safe and participatory environment. The Corporation’s Director of Community Housing, Sandra Babin, said:

We have various criteria that guide our tenant selection process, and the most important is certainly annual income. We prioritize helping individuals who would otherwise struggle in the regular rental market because of their income (nearly half of our units are subsidized by the OMHM), but other reasons can tip the scales like, for instance, the need to be closer to family, to break the isolation, reduced mobility or a desire or need to live in the neighbourhood.”[2]

Habitations Sainte-Germaine-Cousin — © The Mainbourg Corporation 

The Mainbourg Corporation is a social economy enterprise, whose mission is to develop cohesive social environments and to help promote healthy living conditions [3]. It emerged in 1995 from a lack of affordable and adequate social housing in Pointe-aux-Trembles to house community organizations. In 2000, it took possession of the Centre Mainbourg, whose interior renovations began two years later and were funded by twelve financial partners, including the Governments of Canada and Quebec. Next year, the Mainbourg Community Centre will be celebrating its 20th anniversary, in December 2023.

Several of the Mainbourg Corporation’s projects were brought to life by the Rayside Labossière architectural firm. For one of the projects — les Clairières de Mainbourg — the firm took inspiration from the desire path of an existing pedestrian walkway, which was where an orphanage was located at the time, along with that of the growth pattern of existing trees. The Sainte-Germaine Cousin Centre was created when the church of the same name was restored and was designed in partnership with the community.

Habitation Mainbourg — Part 1 — © The Mainbourg Corporation 

The Mainbourg Corporation is an important partner of the Société de développement Angus, who is planning to develop affordable housing, promoting diversity in the Old Pointe-aux-Trembles revitalization project. A 6‑storey housing units will have two sections, one on either side of Notre-Dame Street. To the north, about forty affordable housing units will go up as part of the CMHC’s Rental Construction Financing Initiative. Through this partnership, the Mainbourg Corporation will become the owner of the building where the new housing units will be built. The Société de développement Angus will manage the construction project for the new building.

In this spirit of collaboration, the Mainbourg Corporation has demonstrated the need to invest in social and community housing, especially in this borough, where the population is older and household incomes are lower than average, compared to others districts in Montréal [4]. In participating in the creation of this new, dynamic, socially-diverse living space, it has once again proven the importance of thinking outside the box.

[1] https://​www​.lede​voir​.com/​socie…

[2] https://​est​medi​a​mon​tre​al​.com/l…

[3] https://​main​bourg​.org/​q​u​i​-somm…

[4] Sociodemographic profile 2016 – Borough of Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles

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Topic 1 Human Paths
Topic 2 Green/​Responsible Journey
Topic 3 Future Ways