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Exciting Action by Hamilton East End’s Members During Reorganizing Drive - ACORN Canada

Exciting Action by Hamilton East End’s Members During Reorganizing Drive

Posted July 5, 2023

In May 2023, ACORN Hamilton kicked off a reorganizing drive for the East End chapter. Members attended chapter meetings and put forward an answer to the main issues that have been most heavily impacting East Enders: building neglect and tenant displacement. These issues were most heavily concentrated in buildings on Melvin Avenue owned by corporate landlord Family Properties.

Tenants on this street have contended with waves of N13 notices in previous years, and ACORN has organized those buildings and secured wins at the LTB, but this has not deterred Family Properties from repeating the cycle. When tenants of 221 Melvin Ave received N13 notices informing them they would need to vacate their units for 7-10 months in order to have minor cosmetic renovations made, ACORN members and tenants alike declared that enough was enough! New ACORN members began outreach to connect with tenants in the building who had also received N13s and we held a tenant meeting to get N13 recipients educated on their rights, and begin planning an action. It was then decided to open up the action planning to other Family Properties buildings on the street, which prompted the Melvin Coalition tenant meeting. Members from all 3 buildings agreed to come together to put pressure on Family Properties to end the cycle of financialized tenant displacement, using all resources at our disposal.

We then discovered that Family Properties’ tenant displacement tactics were not limited to just Hamilton; ACORN Toronto and ACORN London members were dealing with renovictions from the same landlord! Planning a 3-city action began with tracking down the most likely location of Family Properties’ head office in North York. Planning culminated in getting 12 members from Hamilton, London, and Toronto to 140 Tycos Drive to deliver a demand letter and give speeches about their experience. Naturally, Family Properties did not permit members entry to the office and instead called the police. Overall, the action succeeded in sending a message to Family Properties that tenants will not take these renovictions lying down. There is a followup march planned for July 21st to keep the pressure on!

Melvin Avenue was not the only part of the East End with exciting new activity. CityHousing tenants of Oriole Crescent are stepping up to demand transparency from City staff about budget use, plans for facilitating much-needed repairs in the aging units, and accountability to tenants regardless of whether they pay geared-to-income or market rent. The first tenant meeting was held on June 9th, and there will be more action to come this summer!

The renewed flurry of activity in the East End culminated in an election held on June 29th where members voted in 3 new board members: Stew Klazinga for chairperson, Ted Plastaras for co-chair, and Branwen Spyker for secretary. The new leadership promises an exciting new phase for organizing efforts in Hamilton’s East End!