The result of nearly a decade of work, the documentary ‘Le Printemps UTILE’, directed by Paul Bourgault, is presented for the first time in 2022, marking the tenth anniversary of UTILE. An experienced director and documentary filmmaker, Paul Bourgeault offers a unique look at the process of setting in motion the student community housing project that would become UTILE. His work offers not only a perspective on our evolution, but also on the hazards and conditions of success of a social economy project.
Even before the construction of the Woodnote was completed, UTILE had already forged new links and convinced financial partners to reproduce the model of the pilot project in another district of Montreal. Thus, the construction of the Rose des vents begins as a sign of the acceleration of development and the change of scale for UTILE.
After nearly 10 years of work, thousands of volunteer hours, and thanks to a small, experienced team, UTILE's first housing project, the Woodnote, welcomes its first student households. This pilot project will have often put the team to the test, but above all it will have shown that it is possible to reinvent student housing in Quebec.
Knowing that the needs are not the same as at the university level, UTILE provides a first portrait of the student residential situation at the college level. With this edition of FLASH/PHARE, UTILE is once again expanding the range of knowledge available on student accommodation.
UTILE carries out a second edition of the FLASH/PHARE with the aim of documenting the evolution of the needs of the student tenant population, and of carrying out an even larger survey than that of 2014. The FLASH 2017 has a record participation: it reaches 17,000 respondents, thanks to the collaboration of 15 student associations and educational institutions.
UTILE is working with the Chantier de l’économie sociale du Québec and the Concordia Student Union (CSU) to set up the Community Student Housing Fund (Fonds CLÉ). The Concordia Student Union is investing nearly $2 million in the Fund. This first investment will be the spark plug that will lead to the construction of the first UTILE project.
In collaboration with the Housing and Job Resource Centre (HOJO) of the Concordia Student Union (CSU), UTILE is putting the lappart.info site online. This initiative aims to provide access to quality information on housing to the student population renting or seeking housing. The site, translated into three languages, is still live today. It has been viewed over a million times since its inception.
The need to document the student residential situation quickly arose. Noting that data and statistics on housing in Quebec and Canada do not take into account students in the rental market, UTILE launches its first major survey to shed light on the question:
FLASH (EN): Facilitating Learning and Awareness on Student Housing
PHARE (FR): la Prospection sur les habitudes et aspirations résidentielles étudiantes
(thus continuing what would become a long tradition of quality acronyms).
UTILE activists and volunteers first focused on organizing mobilization and awareness-raising activities. However, they quickly realized the lack of resources and actors dedicated to the issue of student housing. Thus, they officially founded the collective enterprise UTILE with the objective of developing a social economy student housing model specific to Quebec inspired by best practices in non-profit student housing around the world.
UTILE (at the time UTILE for the Latin Quarter) was born from the desire of a group of graduates from several fields of study to transform the remains of the Îlot Voyageur in Montreal into a constructive affordable student housing project driven by the community.