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1310 News: Herongate residents denounce 'appalling' living conditions - ACORN Canada

1310 News: Herongate residents denounce ‘appalling’ living conditions

Posted May 9, 2012

Their bathrooms are leaking, their ceilings are caving.

Some homes have birds nesting in the walls, other mould growing on the window sills. Many have been waiting months on end for their landlord to make repairs.

Now they are calling for the city to step in.

Members of ACORN Ottawa, a low to moderate income rights group, is pushing for better housing and more rights for tenants as part of its campaign for healthy homes in the city. 

A group of about 20 residents and ACORN members rallied at Sandalwood Park Wednesday afternoon.

Their bathrooms are leaking, their ceilings are caving.

Some homes have birds nesting in the walls, other mould growing on the window sills. Many have been waiting months on end for their landlord to make repairs.

Now they are calling for the city to step in.

Members of ACORN Ottawa, a low to moderate income rights group, is pushing for better housing and more rights for tenants as part of its campaign for healthy homes in the city. 

A group of about 20 residents and ACORN members rallied at Sandalwood Park Wednesday afternoon.

“Ottawa Housing doesn’t see the tenants. They don’t respect us, even though we pay money,” said Hibak Assowe, a single mother of four struggling to make ends meet. “It’s constant harassment. If you’re late with the payment, there’s a threat for you. We’re evicted. But if you ask for help to fix it, they don’t know you. They forget.”

“It doesn’t matter what you say, whether you’re white or foreign, they don’t care,” said Danielle, who also lives in the area. “They just want their rent money and you know what? If your house is not livable, that’s your problem.”

Mavis Finnamore has been living in Herongate since the 1980s.

“We pay money and we would sure like to see it used properly, so we can live here like normal people,” said Finnamore. “That’s all we’re asking for. We’re not asking for the moon. Just clean it up. Repair it so we can have nice, livable houses.”

Residents, like Mahmoud added, they cannot just pick up and leave. He said they have made their lives there, and they can’t just pull their children out of school.

Other residents cannot afford to leave.

“If people had the money, they probably would move. But you know, in this neighbourhood, there are some people who are on family benefits, but a lot of them, simply, just are not up in the higher echelons… There’s a lot of retail workers here,” said Finnamore. “This is not the type of income where you can just pick up and go.”

ACORN is submitting a proposal to the city, asking it to create rights for tenants and force landlords to make needed repairs within a timely fashion.