Posted December 9, 2019
For nearly a month, tenants from 235 Gosford Blvd. have been displaced after a fire ripped through the North York apartment complex, killing one person and injuring six others.
“It is really rough like I have to move the couch in the hotel just to have my kids play because it’s really small,” explains Jeffrey Villacorta, a fifth-floor resident with a wife and small children.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen to us for this Christmas, we have nowhere to go so we’re going to stay in the hotel and spend Christmas in the hotel,” he added.
Displaced residents rallied outside the apartment complex, calling on Ronkay Property Management to offer up better communication and answers to questions weighing them down.
“Come and speak to the tenants face to face in one of these meetings we’ve been having and let them know what is going on,” explains Maize Blachard, a tenant representative with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
“Show your face, you know? That’s all my members want.”
About 700 residents have been displaced for the past three weeks, some staying in shelters, hotels and with friends and family. They say they’ve held three meetings in which the property management did not attend.
“These are really tough times for tenants and, really, people have gone through hell in this building and right now it’s cold, it’s winter, Christmas time is coming. People want to know when they can get back to their normal lives,” adds Humber River-Black Creek MPP Tom Rakocevic.
Since the fire, some tenants have been denied transition payments, while others have received them.
“I don’t want to complain about what I’m going through when other people are going through much more worse conditions,” says Larissa Bablak.
Tenants have been able to go to and from the building to retrieve items but that’s about it.
Global News reached out to the Ronkay Management for comment but no one was available to speak to the media.
According to tenants, the company would like to begin moving residents back in sometime in the New Year, partially reopening parts of the building.
“They’re saying that they want to occupy half of the building; for me personally it’s not safe,” adds Villacorta.
Article by Morganne Campbell for Global News