ACORN members take on REITs, ask Feds to stop predatory landlords

Posted on February 4, 2021

 

What a day! The National Day of Housing for ACORN saw members in strength both virtually and in social distancing actions across the country to rein in big corporate landlords or REITs. REITs or Real Estate Investment Trusts are destroying affordable housing and enjoy massive tax exemptions from the Federal Government.

ACORN released a report yesterday calling on the Federal Government to REIN in the REITs. To read the report, click here.

If you couldn’t join the virtual or the in-person action, don’t lose the chance of getting your letters to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, Housing Minister & their Parliamentary Secretaries. Click here to send one now.

Around 90 members from coast to coast joined the National Day of Housing to Rein in the REITs. Members joined virtually and did a nationwide phoneblitz targeting the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Housing Minister and their Parliamentary Secretaries. 

Leaders from Ottawa, Peel, Toronto, London, Metro Vancouver did an amazing job of providing the campaign overview, training the members on the script for the phoneblitz and making signs! 

The NDP MP and Housing Critic Jenny Kwan joined ACORN members in calling out the Federal Government for not doing enough. She said that Housing is a RIGHT and Canada is a rich country where tenants should not be struggling for a basic human right i.e. housing!

We left voice messages with the PM, Finance Minister and the Housing Minister. We were also able to speak with a live person who told us that they know ACORN's number because so many people had called! There's power in numbers!!!

We also had great in-person actions where members targeted the offices of Liberal MPs and some of Canada’s biggest REITs. Here’s a brief account.

Actions started with the Deputy Prime Minister & Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland's office. Great new Toronto ACORN leaders Jennifer Favorite, Ryan Murdock and Ash Silva gave speeches. Rama Fayaz, a 16 year ACORN veteran, read the demand letter and taped it up on the office door. Lots of people walking by grabbed fliers or honked their horns in support. 

BC ACORN members went to MP Joyce Murray's office to deliver a letter!   

Members in Montreal showed up at David Lametti's office, we had some good signs and chants going. Since the office was closed, Montreal ACORN member and a CAPREIT tenant, Neal, delivered the letter in the mailbox. Press hits coming soon from Journal Metro and the Global News!

In London, members turned out at MP Peter Frafiskatos's office. We delivered a demand letter, posted it on the door and as well put it in the mailbox. London CFPL 980 News Reporter spoke to a member Sarah Henke.

Hamilton saw downtown ACORN leaders deliver a demand letter to their landlord Starlight Investment demanding the REIT stop destroying Hamilton's affordable housing! Starlight Investment now owns 10 properties in Hamilton, with 6 high rises purchased in downtown Hamilton in the past two years. ACORN leaders John Harper and Claudette report lack of repairs and ongoing efforts to push out long term tenants. John spoke on the National phone blitz action about how Starlight was able to push out and increase the rent in 5 out of 8 suites since taking over. 

In Ottawa, ACORN members met in Herongate, one of Canada’s biggest REITs to release ACORN's new "Rein in the REITs" report and to deliver a letter to Hazelview Properties (formerly known as Timbercreek). The action was led by ex-Herongate tenant, Mavis Finnamore, who's townhouse was demolished by then Timbercreek in 2016, along with 79 other families' homes, to make way for luxury rentals. Members started the march across the street from where Mavis' home of 30 years used to be and where now stands a huge concrete & glass luxury rental. Across from there was the fenced off section of Herongate where 105 other townhouses used to stand before Timbercreek mass evicted families and demolished their homes in 2018. The march finished at Hazelview/Timbercreek's office where Mavis & new Herongate ACORN leader Love Afinotan taped a letter to the door with our demands and put another through their mail slot. 

In Halifax, NS ACORN leaders Darryl King and Pat Donovan went down to Andy Fillmore's office to deliver a letter. Despite us calling multiple times and letting them know we'd be there; he didn't come out to accept it. But we slid it under the door! CTV came out and did an interview with Pat and took a copy of the demand letter.

ACORN members are looking forward to doing more to pressure the Federal Government to stop aggressive predatory landlords!

 

PRESS:

Metro Montreal: Manifestation devant le bureau de David Lametti * Action in front of David Lametti's office

Global TV: ACORN Canada wants Ottawa to tax real estate trusts

INN24: ACORN calling on Federal Government on tax loophole

The Leveller: “Rein in the REITs”: Tenants demand action against real estate investment trusts

 

MEMBER BLOG POST: Financialization of Community Residences - from LTCs to Apartment Buildings

 

Check out some pictures:

 

 

 

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