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Ottawa ACORN Housing & Climate Justice Organizer - ACORN Canada

Ottawa ACORN Housing & Climate Justice Organizer

Are you looking for meaningful full-time work in a grassroots environment? Are you passionate about affordable housing and fighting climate change? Would you rather work in the community instead of an office all day?

If YES then we invite you to join the ACORN organizing team to help lead our housing & climate justice work in the city!

Work with tenants to fight climate change!

The Issue

Low-to-moderate income people around the world bear the brunt of the negative effects associated with climate change. At the same time they have very little power to combat the greenhouse gas emissions that create climate change. Ottawa tenants are in this unfortunate situation.

Tenants don’t control what heating system is used in their apartments, what types of insulation their buildings have, or how energy efficient the appliances are in their units. That is the landlord’s responsibility. At the same time often the costs for increased energy usage due to energy inefficiency is paid for by the tenants.

Apartment buildings and rented homes are a very large source of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing those emissions is an essential part of all levels of governments’ climate action plans. Yet government programs rarely require landlords to maintain their units’ current rents and tenancies as a condition of funding, meaning predatory landlords can pass the costs of retrofits onto tenants through raising rents and renovictions.

The Solution

This isn’t the case in other countries. There are countless examples in Europe and across the US of governments placing affordability and security of tenure conditions on landlords receiving funding to do energy upgrades in their buildings.

The solutions to our dual crises of housing & climate change are out there. But we need large groups of tenants to come together to demand change. That’s why Ottawa ACORN is looking for energetic and motivated individuals to lead a special project that builds eco-tenant unions in apartment buildings and rental townhouse communities to advocate to their landlords and local governments for retrofits AND tenant protections.

Tenants shouldn’t have to choose between a home they can afford and fighting climate change. With strength in numbers, we can change that.

Job Description *Apply With A Cover Letter*:

  • Direct community outreach in apartment buildings and low-to-moderate income renter communities. Identifying community concerns and connecting issues like expensive energy bills, old/broken appliances, problems with heat in the winter etc to the need for retrofits. This will include listening to tenants’ experiences, educating tenants on retrofits and their co-benefits for renters (upgrades to unit, better health outcomes, lower bills) and motivating residents to join/form eco-tenant unions in their buildings.
    Build and maintain eco-tenant unions that meet regularly to discuss building/neighbourhood concerns related to their housing & climate change.
  • Develop tenants’ skills to facilitate meetings, speak to the media, lead direct actions, petition their landlords, speak to their local representatives and participate in/lead discussions around environmental campaigning and policy.
    Work with eco-tenant union leaders to develop strategies and tactics for winning retrofits and other climate-based solutions to the problems in their buildings.
  • Work with professional organizers on a day to day basis to learn how to create building and neighbourhood-wide campaigns through base-building activities, corporate and governmental research, mass communications, project management skills and more.

Salary, Hours & Benefits

  • Full-time at 42 hours per week and part-time (minimum 25 hours per week) opportunities are available.
  • ACORN organizers work in the afternoons and evenings between 12-9PM when tenants are home.
  • Full-time is a salaried position starting at $39,637.21 + $20/month phone reimbursement & $1,000 salary bump after 3 month probationary period. Part-time is paid at an hourly wage of $18.15/hr. Both positions include transit reimbursements for intra-work travel (approximately $50-70/month).
  • Contract position ending May 31st, 2024.
  • Opportunity for advancement after contract to either full or part time community organizing positions depending on candidate’s willingness to fundraise. Full time organizing positions include annual cost of living & seniority pay increases, benefits, sick days, paid vacation, out of city staff trainings and meetings (sometimes outside of Canada) 3 times a year, and opportunities for advancement within the organization.

Qualifications and Skills

  • No paid experience required; professional organizer training is provided
  • Strong desire to work with people
  • Ability to work independently and in a team
  • Multilingual candidates are encouraged to apply
  • Ability to listen in order to identify issues that are affecting our people
  • An interest in climate & housing justice and able to explain that in a brief cover letter

What is ACORN?
ACORN Canada is a local and national community union of low and moderate income people fighting for social justice. We are a membership based organization that is independent from the governments, corporations and banks we seek to hold accountable.

We are 160,000 members strong across 24 neighbourhood chapters in nine cities.
ACORN’s purpose is to give low-to-moderate income people the power needed to have their voices effectively heard at the highest levels in the country. ACORN is able to be both a local-based union winning local campaigns, as well as a large-scale organization combining forces to fight national corporations and governments that are at the root of most of our problems.

Some of our major victories include:

  • $10/month internet for 220,000 low income families through the federal Connecting Families program & some social housing providers
  • Stricter regulations and lowered interest rates on payday loan companies like Money Mart
  • $15 million/year in the city budget for affordable housing since 2019
  • Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of repairs into our members’ units and apartments
  • Stopping our members’ evictions and AGIs (Above the guideline rent increases)