Organizing Works! Wins, Challenges & Next Steps in Ottawa ACORN’s #HomesOverProfit Campaigns!

Posted June 22, 2022

At last Thursday’s special joint meeting between Community and Protective Services Committee & Planning, councillors debated the long awaited city staff recommendations for how the City could tackle renovictions and Inclusionary Zoning.

After years of rallies, demonstrations, reports, press coverage, meetings with councillors, deputations, and petitions, ACORN members were excited to see motions pass in response to our tireless and persistent efforts to stop renovictions and demovictions!

ACORN has been campaigning to stop mass displacement as a result of redevelopment, renovictions and demovictions since 2015. The citywide campaign was launched during the first round of mass evictions by Timbercreek (now Hazelview) in Herongate. Since then, ACORN has continued to organize against demovictions in Herongate and has formed tenant unions in neighbourhoods such as Vanier (249 & 253 Des Peres Blanc, 644-656 De L’Eglise), Centretown (142 Nepean, 641-649 Rideau) and Manor Village where tenants are at risk of mass eviction.

As a result of ACORN members’ campaign and the support of multiple city councillors, city staff are now directed to conduct a feasibility study of a rental replacement bylaw that would consider conditions during the redevelopment of affordable housing such as: temporary accommodations, rental top ups, moving cost assistance, 1:1 replacement of lost affordable housing, and the right for tenants to return to the new units at the same rent and number of bedrooms! City staff will also explore the creation of a Tenant Defense Fund and Proactive Tenant Education Program. ORGANIZING WORKS! 

While ACORN members thank the City for listening to their calls for action to stop the loss of affordable housing, we still have huge concerns over the City’s current framework proposal for Inclusionary Zoning (IZ). 

ACORN members have been campaigning for Inclusionary Zoning - a policy that would require affordable housing in new developments- since 2008. Thanks to the pressure of ACORN members and allies across the province, Ontario cities won the power to do Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) in 2018. ACORN members fought for Inclusionary Zoning because we are facing the housing crisis every day. 

Despite many motions being moved last Thursday in an attempt to widen the scope of IZ, there are still glaring gaps in the policy. 

For example, the policy still only considers “up to” 10% affordable rental housing despite home ownership being raised to 20%, designated transit zones where IZ can apply were not expanded and completely exclude neighbourhoods like Vanier and Herongate, and levels of affordability still do not reach those who need it most, instead choosing to target households earning $64,000/year which would produce “affordable” rents at $1,600/month…. That’s not affordable housing!! 

This is why 70+ ACORN members demonstrated outside of City Hall today with our allies from Horizon Ottawa & CAWI. Together we are demanding: 

  • 25-35% affordable rental housing 
  • Affordable housing in perpetuity 
  • Targeting households living with incomes that put them in core housing need (paying at least 30% of their income on rent)
  • Maximizing where IZ can be applied in the city as the current framework leaves some locations off the table 
  • Minimum requirements for accessible and family units 

Both policies on renovictions and Inclusionary Zoning will still ultimately be decided on by the next Council. Ottawa ACORN members are committed to filling the room of public consultations and committee meetings like we did last Thursday (50+% of speakers from the public were ACORN members!), working with our allies, meeting with councillors, planning actions, and making renovictions & inclusionary zoning TOP election issues until the final votes this winter. 

Support the fight for stronger IZ by signing the online action here

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Press: 

CTV News: Rally Against Renovictions

Capital Current (coming soon) 

CBC (coming soon)

 

 

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