Downsview Advocate: ACORN Organizes With Chalkfarm Residents: The Campaign For Healthy Homes

Posted May 13, 2022

When the RentSafe program was first implemented, residents of 160 - 200 Chalkfarm Dr did not anticipate the struggle they were to face in the coming years. 

Toronto’s RentSafeTO program was created to hold building owners accountable for building conditions through regulation, evaluation, and inspection. This includes a rating system, financial penalties, operating standards for bylaw officers, and a tenant engagement program. The city-wide program began implementation in 2017, a victory by ACORN and their allies. Despite this, pest infestations, dangerous elevators, and poor maintenance are just a few of the issues that Chalkfarm tenants are battling. 

“The program has never been fully implemented and tenants are still forced to deal with many issues in their homes. The City really needs to step up and properly enforce the program so landlords are held accountable and the health and safety of tenants is the number one priority. The City of Toronto’s lack of enforcement has led to poor living conditions.”, says Kemba Robinson, an ACORN member. 

ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is an organization consisting of low-income and middle-income individuals who fight for social and economic justice. Since 2004, their advocacy has raised the minimum wage, enabled the introduction of an affordable internet program, amended housing policies across the country, and more. 

Greenwin Property Management, the corporation responsible for the Chalkfarm buildings, charges illegal maintenance fees, taking advantage of the building’s large proportion of working-class immigrants. 

Chalkfarm ACORN member Moji Adesanya says, “We have problems with pest infestations, chaotic parking, dangerous elevators, and poor maintenance of the whole building. Tenants are sick of dealing with it and are fighting back!” 

ACORN and Chalkfarm residents are demanding repairs, an end to the illegal charges, and action from the city through an increase in bylaw inspectors, color-coded signs in front of apartment buildings, and increased transparency with the program. 

***

Article by Miwako Chang for the Downsview Advocate

 

Sign up for ACORN's newsletter