ACORN members came down to city hall today to fight for a housing plan that will actually affect the low and moderate income communities where they live.
ACORN members started off the day by joining a press conference with Councillors Gord Perks & Krystyn Wong-Tam, and allies from ConveneTO, the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness and Houselink Community Homes. Alejandra Ruiz Vargas, the chair of East York ACORN listed off the things the plan got right as well as the many items that need to be strengthened as part of fixing the housing crisis over the next 10 years.
ACORN was pleased to see the plan recognize the right to housing, and even more pleased to see a commitment to change the defintion of affordable from one based on average market rent, to a definition based on a percentage of income. This is a huge victory and will make a real impact on people's lives.
However, we still need more from the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. ACORN demands:
- Firm commitments from the City, which are achievable without the support of other levels of government and the creation of a housing commissioner to oversee the plan.
- Permanent affordability periods. PERIOD!
- Any developments that receive public funds MUST have rent control, with guideline rent increases as well as vacancy control, so that landlords cannot jack the rent on vacant units.
- Tools to achieve the goals such as STRONG Inclusionary Zoning with deep affordability, and a vacant unit tax; housing is a right, not a commodity.
- And a commitment to protect existing affordable housing by enforcing RentSafe and creating a 'No Displacement' tenant protect policy to stop tenant buyouts, renovictions, demovictions, and tenants being forced out due to unfair rent hikes or lack of repairs.