Battle Cry against Gentrification: Waterloo Region ACORN Rallies against the Demovictions at Rainbow Row
Posted December 11, 2023
On December 4th at 4:30 PM, over a dozen ACORN members and community allies came together to march in solidarity with the tenants living at 93-99 Benton street and 39-43 Saint George street – also known as “Rainbow Row” due to the bright and pleasant colours the property brings to the community.
Tenants in Rainbow Row are facing the harrowing prospect of demoviction, a consequence of the owner’s plan to replace these affordable, below-market rent apartments with a towering 13-storey mixed-use building. SHAME! This potential displacement of long-standing renters and the loss of these crucial affordable housing units galvanized ACORN members into action.
Leading up to the rally, ACORN members tirelessly worked with tenants, canvassing the Rainbow Row buildings and the surrounding community. Their efforts resulted in an impressive collection of over FIFTY petition signatures in a single afternoon. The outpouring of support demonstrated the shared concern for preserving affordable housing and maintaining the unique character of Rainbow Row.
On December 4th, tenants, ACORN members, and community supporters marched from Rainbow Row to rally in front of Kitchener City Hall, drawing attention to the urgent need to protect these properties and the tenants who call them home. Attendees then made their way inside City Hall to give over 15 delegations at the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee meeting, urging council to prioritize the well-being of the Rainbow Row tenants and preserve this community. Council ultimately chose to postpone the matter until January 22nd so city staff can set up yet another meeting between the developers and the tenants. This is despite the tenants having attempted time and time again to meet with the developers, who refused to come to the table with a reasonable offer. SHAME!
As the city grapples with the decision on the fate of these buildings, Waterloo Region ACORN members, tenants, and allies stand resolute in our pursuit of a more equitable and inclusive community!