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.

 

They might be close neighbours, but not that close. At 3101 Eglinton Ave. E., nearly half of the 60 units in the six-storey apartment block stand empty.   For good reason, too, if those seen by the Sun yesterday are anything to go by. The walls are filthy, kitchen cabinets are falling apart and drywall lays on the floor in a crumbling mess. Until recently, clogged garbage chutes had left rubbish strewn throughout corridors. Fitz Gerald said he and another tenant had been left with no choice but to unclog the chutes themselves.

 

A superintendent reacted angrily to the Sun's arrival, shouting that the Sun had no right to be in the building despite being invited in by Fitz Gerald.

The building's property manager also refused to answer questions and walked away. Fitz Gerald said the building's new management took over in May and has told residents they'll have to wait for work on the empty units to be finished before theirs can be fixed. Just add that to the 21/2 years they've already waited for outstanding work orders to be finished.

"We have been living in a public health mess," said Fitz Gerald, a member of a group called the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). "They're too busy fixing vacant units to charge a higher rent for new tenants," he said. "They won't even fix holes in people's ceilings. It's not right." A sign on the front of 3101 Eglinton Ave. E. advertises the apartments as "newly renovated," throwing in free cable as a sweetener.