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Surrey Calling on Municipal Candidates for Affordable Housing - ACORN Canada

Surrey Calling on Municipal Candidates for Affordable Housing

Posted September 16, 2022

On Thursday, September 15th tenants at Bristol Estates in Surrey came out to call on candidates running for the municipal election to stop letting affordable housing be destroyed through neglect and demovictions, and commit to supporting ACORN’s Stand Up for Surrey Housing Campaign.

Over the last decade, tenants living in  Whalley have watched as demovictions aimed at affordable housing carved up their neighborhood and made it unrecognizable. Now Bristol Estates, one of the few remaining affordable housing complexes in the area, is surrounded on all sides by luxury condos high rises. Plans to demovict the 150+ units of affordable housing at Bristol Estates and replace it with over 2,400 condos and one rental tower passed Surrey City council this August. Some tenants have been offered the option to return to an apartment in the redeveloped rental tower when it’s complete, at the “affordable” rate of 10% below average market rent. With the way that rents are skyrocketing in Surrey, tenants at Bristol Estates know that this “affordable” housing offered by developers is out of reach for most.

ACORN members and tenants got together today to fight back, and tell politicians running for municipal government that given the state of the housing and demoviction crisis, it’s crucial that they endorse ACORN’s Stand Up For Surrey Housing Campaign.

Newton co-chair Leslie MacFarlane spoke to tenants and City TV news, explaining that ACORN is calling for the city to strengthen its Standards of Maintenance Bylaw, license landlords, and do proactive inspections. Tenants from Bristol Estates and other affordable buildings in Whalley spoke about how without these laws in place, their landlords refuse to do necessary repairs, leaving them to live without heat and with mold.

By following the lead of Burnaby and introducing a rent stabilization policy, developers would be required to find demovicted tenants comparable apartments in their own neighborhoods, and top up their rents so that the tenants aren’t faced with a huge rent increase. A one to one rental replacement law would give tenants the right to return to a comparable apartment in the new redeveloped building at the same rent they paid in their old unit.

These laws would halt the mass tenants displacement currently being experienced by tenants in Whalley, and help preserve the affordable housing that Surrey already has. ACORN will continue to fight back in Surrey against demovictions and for healthy homes, by pressuring politicians to commit to the policies Surrey needs to preserve affordable housing.

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