Affordable Liveable Housing

ACORN Canada members are fighting for affordable and livable housing at all levels of government across Canada.

580 CFRA: ACORN Canada rally calls for rent increase cap

Calling for changes to the way landlords set rental increases, more than two dozen members of the anti-poverty group, ACORN, rallied outside Dalton McGuinty's Kilborn avenue office today.

The group wants to see the same cap for rent increases when a unit or space is empty as it is for a long term or returning tenant.

Blaine Cameron is a member of ACORN and says he thinks housing needs to be kept affordable, especially for those living on fixed incomes.

"Because as it is right now they (the landlord) can raise it to whatever they want and that, in a city like Ottawa where we have the third longest waiting list for subsidized housing, and it's 10 years someone can wait on that list before they can get subsidized," he said, adding that it's unacceptable to have soaring rates with low access to affordable housing.

ACORN says this was en election promise McGuinty made and they want to hold him to his word.

Ottawa Sun: Advocates to McGuinty: Cap rent hikes

Members of an advocacy group stormed Premier Dalton McGuinty's constituency office on Wednesday, urging him to cap rent hikes.

About 30 members of ACORN argued landlords shouldn't be allowed to raise rents beyond 3.1% in between tenants.

Tina Morris said she recently lived in a frigid, ill-maintained flat. After she moved out, she was astonished to find it renting for $400 more than she had paid.

"And he didn't fix anything," she said. "The landlords right now, they can take their vacant apartments and raise the rent as much as they like."

That can create motivation for landlords to drive out low-income tenants.

"The rents are going up and up," Morris said.

Low vacancy rates -- 1.4% last year and an expected 1.2% in 2012 -- have helped keep rent in Ottawa at above the national average.

1310 News: Ottawa ACORN calls for rental cap

Ottawa members rally for Healthy Homes at Dalton McGuinty's office. August 29 2012.A group of around 30 Ottawa residents rallied in front of Premier Dalton McGuinty's Kilborn Avenue office Wednesday afternoon, calling for fair rent.

They were part of Ottawa ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an advocacy group that fights for those who struggle to make ends meet.

Ottawa ACORN was calling on the provincial government to prevent landlords from increasing rent by more than 3.1 per cent on units after a tenant has moved out.

Tina was living in an apartment that needed upgrades and utility work done.

"Before we moved out, I saw an ad online for our aparment," she said. "He had raised the rent from the $850 that we were paying, to $1,200 for this apartment. Not one thing was fixed before the new tenants moved in."

Ontario ACORN Members Rally for Affordable Housing

Tina Aug 29 2012 Vacancy control 2

Today, ACORN members in Toronto and Ottawa took action for affordable and liveable housing in Ontario.

Over 50 ACORN members rallied to hold Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government accountable for the promises they made to prohibit rent increases when landlords fail to  maintain their buildings, and to provide stronger protections for renters. So far McGuinty has failed to keep those promises, and ACORN members are holding him to account!

As part of a province-wide day of action on our Healthy Homes campaign, Ottawa members outside Dalton McGuinty’s office and Toronto members outside Kathleen Wynne (Housing Minister)’s office demanded to be engaged on capping rent increases on vacant apartments and making housing liveable and affordable in Ontario – as McGuinty promised. 

For more information and to get involved in the Healthy Homes campaign, contact your local ACORN office today!

Update: Shortly after the Toronto action, Kathleen Wynne called Toronto ACORN to schedule a meeting with our leaders. Looks like we got her attention!

Day of Action: Cap the Vacancy Rates!

daltons office mar 30 2012Members in Ottawa are fighting to cap rent increases on vacant apartments to 3.1%, which is the current maximum rate for occupied units. ACORN members want Premier Dalton McGuinty to live up to his election commitments to stand up for tenants and make rent affordable. Ottawa has over 10,000 families on the wait list - the third largest in the province - for affordable housing.

Member Lana Bogart, who is paying market rent, says: “Dalton McGuinty made a promise to tenants to do something about inflationary rent increases, and we're still waiting for him to keep that promise. I've been in my apartment for almost six years, and our landlord has put us on a month-to-month lease, and he no longer does repairs in a timely fashion. It feels like they're trying to get us to move out so they can raise the rent to current market rates.” 

Members will meet Wednesday, August 29, 12pm outside 1795 Kilborn (Dalton McGunity's constituency office). Join us to fight for affordable housing now! Wear your ballcap to CAP the vacancy rates! Transportation assistance available but RSVP necessary, call 613 746 5999 or email onacornot@acorncanada.org.

Building for a National Day of Action on Housing

Ottawa ACORN planning meeting for August 29 Day of Action. On August 29th, ACORN members across Canada will be taking action for affordable and livable housing. 

Right now, members are hard at work building those actions. Get in touch with the ACORN office closest to you if you can help.

In Ottawa and Toronto ACORN members met this week to talk about turn-out and details for the day of. 

Communites across Canada are facing a crisis - they're in desperate need of more affordable and livable housing.

In BC, ACORN members recently met with the assistant deputy minister for housing after a long campaign to pressure his government to take the needs of tenants more seriously. Read more about that here

In Ottawa, ACORN members recently started a city-wide Healthy Homes campaign. Read more about that here

August will be busy as ACORN members from coast to coast continue meeting, and planning, and organizing.

Toronto ACORN Update

ACORN Canada members in Toronto are coming together this summer for livable housing, remittance justice, and gardening.

They’re working now to let their neighbors know about ongoing campaigns for more affordable and livable housing. On August 29th they’ll come together for a national day of action on livable housing – call the office now if you can help build towards that.

The community garden co-founded by ACORN members near East York’s Dawes Rd. is thriving this year. Send us an email if you can help look after it.

Ottawa ACORN Healthy Homes Rally

Ottawa ACORN members from across the city came together on July 11th to send a message to their city councilors – Ottawa needs Healthy Homes now.

They came with pictures of their homes – they wanted to know if the city councilors who refuse to take action for Healthy Homes would confront the consequences of that: by living in apartments that aren’t safe or clean.

New members Blaine Cameron and Ronny Mosuro spoke on behalf of ACORN about some of the things that tenants are forced to live with: dirty carpets, cockroaches, bed bugs, broken elevators, disrespect and harassment from landlords.

For updates on the Ottawa Healthy Homes campaign, and for video of the July 11th action, check out Ottawa ACORN on Facebook.

EMC News: ACORN calls for action on healthier homes, Anti-poverty group wants tougher regulations on landlords

Ottawa ACORN members rally for Healthy Homes. When Ronny Mosuro moved into her Cedarwood Drive apartment last October, she had a list of promises from her landlord to clean up the unit and rid it of bed bugs and cockroaches. Nearly a year later, the frustrated mother was nearly in tears as she addressed a crowd of protesters outside of Ben Franklin Place on July 11.

Ottawa ACORN, an anti-poverty advocacy group, met outside of the former Nepean city hall to show pictures of rental units in disrepair to councillors meeting for the last time before the summer break.

Mosuro said she moved into an apartment in the east end to save money, but was horrified to learn she would have to deal with insect infestations.

"My kids had never even heard of cockroaches or bed bugs," she said, pointing to an enlarged photo of her son's arm, pockmarked with bed bug bites. 

Jack Bogart, who served as the emcee for the protest, called what tenants living in sub par conditions were dealing with a "psychological assault."

"Living with these kinds of problems deteriorates the health of society's most vulnerable," he said. "It is often the working poor paying market rent living in these conditions. It attacks your sense of self worth."  

URGENT: MPPs Need to Hear from Tenants

On Tuesday, ACORN members took a message to Queen’s Park.

The justice committee was meeting to discuss Bill 19, which would amend the Residential Tenancies Act. There are important changes needed to that act, but Bill 19 as it’s currently written won’t make any of them.

What’s needed? An end to vacancy decontrol. Right now, rent increases are only regulated for as long as an individual tenant lives in an apartment. When they move out the rent can be dramatically increased. This puts long term tenants in the crosshairs of unscrupulous landlords, and it leads to unsustainable increases in the cost of rental housing. ACORN is calling for real rent control in Ontario.

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