News

ACORN Featured in the Toronto Sun

ACORN Member Shows Toronto Sun Slum-Like Conditions in his Apartment

BEN SPENCER, SUN MEDIA  July 4th, 2008

If it wasn't so serious, it would almost be funny.

Michael Fitz Gerald peered up at the gaping hole in the ceiling above a neighbour's shower and shook his head.

From this third-floor Scarborough hellhole, he had a clear view of the piping leading to his bathtub on the fourth floor.

That's what six weeks of leaking pipes will do to 40-year-old drywall. While he may be at wit's end over his landlord's inaction, Fitz Gerald hasn't lost his sense of humour. "I just hope my tub doesn't fall through into her shower some day," he said.

 

Ottawa ACORN to the Province: Don't Hang us out to Dry

ACORN members from across Ottawa will be holding a press event at City Hall displaying a clothesline of work orders that remain outstanding in Ottawa Community Housing.  ACORN members will be asking that the city come with them to the province to upload public housing costs.  ACORN members are tired of being “hung out to dry” given the state of disrepair in OCH.

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Erin Albright, an ACORN member, feels “we deserve housing that meets minimum standards, unfortunately, OCH and our city councilors tell us that it will take approximately $600 million dollars to bring our homes up to that standard.” ACORN members like Erin have

Toronto ACORN Liveable Housing Forum

November 5th, 2008 - Toronto ACORN will be holding a Livable Housing Forum on Saturday, November 8th at 1pm at the Main Square Community Center (245 Main St., just south of Danforth).  The event is a part of ACORN's campaign to License Landlords in Toronto in the most effective way possible.

Toronto's neighborhoods are riddled with sub-standard living conditions forcing tenants to put up with black mold, bed bugs, and a lack of repairs, cleaning and maintenance.  Toronto ACORN members have been holding rallies and actions at slum-buildings around the city for 3 years to pressure the city to hold landlords accountable to their tenants.

City Hall is going to decide soon whether we get a strong licensing system or a weak one.  Toronto ACORN members demand to be heard!  We are inviting every city councilor in Toronto to attend the event.

Payday Lending Regulation in Ontario

For the last 4 years ACORN has been organizing to win regulations to protect working families and consumers who use payday loans.

ACORN is pleased to announce a major step forward in this important campaign in Ontario.

Together with our allies at the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO), the Public Interest Advocacy Center (PIAC) and Option Consommateurs (OC), we've submitted a letter of joint support to the provincial Board that will be making recommendations regarding the cost of payday loans.

In the letter we lay out 3 areas of core concern where the board can take bold action to rein-in the industries rates and protect consumers; Cost of borrowing for waged consumers, for consumers on social assistance and default rates.

This is one part of a long term strategy to reduce the cost of short term credit for low income consumers.  ACORN leaders are calling on Canada's Banks and Credit Unions to develop new low cost financial products that will give working families a mainstream alternative to payday loans.

Work isn't Working for Ontario Families

There have been two important developments in recent weeks of ACORN members taking the lead in the fight to put low and moderate income voices at the center of the discussion around poverty reduction.

First, on May 14th, 40 leading ACORN members traveled from across Toronto to Queen's Park to press their elected representatives on our Provincial Platform. ACORN  members  met with senior members of the Ontario Government as well as the Provincial NDP Caucus  and   brought with them a clear message:

Cap Payday Loan Rates - Ensure that the rate cap in the payday loan legislation focuses on returning money to working families.

License Temp Agencies - To fund pro-active inspections of labour conditions and  set maximum charges that agencies are able to charge employee's for work placements.

Raise the minimum wage - To $11/hour and peg it to inflation.

ACORN Responds to Premier McGuinty's Anti-Poverty Initiatives

We offer this response to the announcement made today by Premier Dalton McGuinty;

While we are encouraged by the announcement of new resources for social housing, dental care and student nutrition, it falls far short of the comprehensive poverty reduction strategy the Premier has promised, and that Ontarians deserve.

What was layed out by Premier McGuinty today are incremental pieces of a larger puzzle of how to reduce poverty in Ontario.  As a membership owned organization, with a large constituency of low and moderate income families, including many members living in social housing, our members call on the provincial government to systemically address the growing rates of poverty in our province by implementing the following platform;

·         Regulation of the payday lending industry

·         Full rent controls to bring private rental housing costs back under control.
·         Upload Social Housing costs.
·         Universal childcare based on Quebec’s $7/day program.
·         Licensing of temp agencies to guarantee the protection of workers basic labour rights.
·         Peg the minimum wage to inflation
·         Raise social assistance and ODSP rates by 40% and peg to inflation.

Report Card on Affordable Housing

Day of Action for a National Housing Strategy

Toronto / Ottawa / Metro Vancouver – ACORN Canada will be hosting rallies in three cities across Canada on Thursday July 10th as we release our National Report Card on the State of Affordable Housing.

Click Here to Download and Read the Report >>>

Can make the rally? Send a message to Harper in support>>>

The report card shows how the abdication of leadership by the Federal Government over the last decade in the area of housing policy has let Canada slip below international standards and will outline the deficiencies of Canada’s failure to introduce a national strategy for housing.

Canada is the only major country without a national housing strategy (Wellesley Institute Housing report 2008).

In addition to the report card, we will be calling on the Federal Government to take a number of common sense steps to stop Canada’s decline as an international laggard in Housing Policy.

-Renew and extend the three federal housing and homelessness programs that are due to expire this year (federal homelessness strategy, federal housing repair program, federal affordable housing initiative).

-Maintain the current investment in affordable housing (reverse the policy decision of 1996 that locks in a rapidly decreasing annual housing funding cut).

-Meet Canada's international housing obligations by adopting a comprehensive and fully-funded national housing program.

-Establish a minister responsible for housing, with wide-ranging mandates and
responsibilities

ACORN Organizing in the Spotlight

ACORN Members Featured in News Stories Across the Country!

Toronto / Ottawa / Metro Vancouver – Whether it's Landlord Licensing or a National Housing Strategy, ACORN Members are getting organized to win real change, and they're getting noticed.

Check out these quotes about our work:

From The Editorial Page of the Star on July 16th:

"Yet another report, this one from low-income people themselves, has blasted the federal government for failing to do enough to provide affordable housing in this country.  ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, gave the federal government an F in all four housing measures it analyzed in its report, released last week."

From the Toronto Sun on July 5th:

"The city is committed to establishing a landlord licensing regime, said Councillor Howard Moscoe…The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) wants the city to create programs that protect tenants and equalize their relationship with landlords. They want rental units to be inspected the same way restaurants are routinely reviewed and have the inspections posted."

From the Vancouver Metro on July 11th:

Members of ACORN were in Burnaby yesterday to demand the establishment of a housing minister and distribute their report card... "We have a huge crisis," she said. "The feds are rolling in surpluses … Where does that money go?" Cynthia Wiens, a resident of an affordable housing complex in Surrey, said that money should be going toward more social housing.

ACORN Members begin Licensing Landlords

Toronto – ACORN members in two neighbourhoods in Toronto frustrated by the slow pace of change from City Hall have begun Licensing Landlords themselves.

In East York, ACORN members from 500 Dawes rd. posted a "Fail" notice on the front door of their building. “Landlords abuse the weaknesses of the existing system to get around providing a safe and healthy environment for rent-paying tenants, and tenants are left with almost no protection” says Ahmed Makhlouf, a member of ACORN.

In Weston, ACORN members living at 15 and 25 Martha Eaton Way failed thier landlord MetCap, after even the most basic of repairs remain unfinished.  Resident and ACORN member Maria Valencia said this about the event; “It’s only fair if we’re following the contract and paying our rents that landlords hold up their end of the bargain and do repairs and maintenance,”

Ottawa ACORN Big City Wide Meeting

Ottawa ACORN will be planning for upcoming campaigns as well as reviewing a great year of victories in the fight for stronger neighbourhoods and greater social and economic justice.

Where: Vanier Legion 294 Cyr (off Montreal Rd, right after Shopper's Drug Mart)

When: November 1st at 1pm

Bring your neighbors, friends and family. There's Power in Numbers! There will be childcare, refreshments, raffles, copies of the Housing Award given to Ottawa ACORN by Action Housing a few weeks back and ACORN 2009 Calendars for sale (call/email to office to reserve one in advance).

From Poverty to Prosperity: ACORN Canada Launches People's Platform

ACORN Canada is pleased to announce the launch of our Federal People's Platform. In its pages ACORN has laid out a platform that has been developed through 4 years of grassroots community organizing.

The issues identified we’re set as priorities by ACORN’s low and moderate income membership, and represent what they believe it will take to move From Poverty to Prosperity.

Highlights include the return of the Federal Minimum Wage, a National Living Wage Ordinance, a plan to make banking work for working families, a National Housing Strategy and a new Childcare program.

ACORN Canada Members are gearing up to take these issues to Candidates running in the current Federal Election.

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