Healthy Homes - Habitation saine

Every person deserves affordable, livable housing. In many low income neighbourhoods, tenants live with mold, pests, broken elevators, and other challenges because landlords will not do the repairs needed. ACORN Canada members fight for landlord licensing, building inspections, and stronger enforcement of maintenance rules and by-laws.
See our Healthy Homes demands here.

Langley Advance: Protesters call for tenancy protection

BC ACORN members rally in Langley for Healthy Homes.It's ironic that Sue Collard now lives in Langley, in the riding of local MLA and housing minister Rich Coleman, the activist says.

Collard was in front of Coleman's constituency office at the Langley Events Centre on Friday along with other members of ACORN Canada to rally for better tenant protection.

Collard became a high-profile face in the fight for tenants rights starting in 2010 after the former Kwantlen Park Manor resident petitioned the residential tenancy branch about disrepair in her home.

Landlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota was slapped with a $115,000 fine for failing to maintain the water damaged apartment building in Surrey earlier this year.

The fine was waived in October, providing Sahota completes all repairs and helped resettle his tenants.

"My building is still in disrepair," Collard said on Friday.

Along with a group of other tenants and activists, she visited Coleman's office to deliver a letter and ask for changes.

They asked for government action against bad landlords, unhealthy conditions in apartments, and for action to preserve the province's rental housing stock.

BC ACORN Members Take Action for Healthy Homes

BC ACORN members rally for Healthy HomesIt has been apparent for years that the Residential Tenancy Act leaves renters in BC with an impotent dispute resolution process which offers scant protection from predatory landlords. The stories of abused tenants are legion; however the Liberal government continues to callously ignore their plight at every turn.

The first ever $115,000 administrative penalty against the infamous slumlord family, the Sahotas, has been negotiated away while repairs to the Surrey building connected to that penalty remains unrepaired. Worse still the tenant who fought for repairs, Sue Collard, has been forced out of the building!

Tenant harassment continues unabated in British Columbia, as do rent-evictions and reno-evictions. The scourge of black mold ravages the health of tenants both young and old, and simple repairs remain as difficult to get done as ever.

Halifax Media Co-op: The Black, Moldy Side of Atlantic Living

Dartmouth, NS – It's been an interesting few days for Jessica Basterache.

img 6766Last Thursday, the Halifax Media Co-op was invited to report on the slum-style conditions of the basement floor of the low-rise on Jackson Road in North Dartmouth, where Basterache was living.

Her apartment, as well as several other vacant, unlocked units, had serious black mold issues, which is extremely dangerous to human health. There was also serious cosmetic damage to the basement hallway, with holes punched and kicked in the drywall. There was no lock on the back door of the building entrance, and the hallway was missing fire extinguishers.

Prior to the article being published, the HMC attempted unsuccessfully to contact Atlantic Living Property Management, the new owners of the Jackson Road low-rise, and numerous other investments in the area and beyond. 

Dartmouth ACORN Members Come Together to Fight for Healthy Homes

Nova Scotia ACORN member Jessica Bastarache has lived with mould, rats, a rotting bathroom and broken entrance in her building for two years. While it was hard to imagine the situation worsening, on December 3rd she came home to find a sheriff’s notice of eviction.

Atlantic Living currently owns the property and while they didn’t initiate the eviction, they stood firmly by it and even claimed when speaking to a reporter that Jessica caused the damages to the building. The eviction was initiated shortly after she went to the media about her living conditions.

With the help of 40 ACORN members and allies marching on Atlantic Living’s office on Tuesday, Jessica made an example out of slumlords that bully tenants.

Halifax ACORN member rally for Healthy Homes.

Halifax Media Co-op: ACORN Canada Aims to Tackle Dartmouth Slums

Be thankful you don't have to breathe it: Black mold everywhere. [Photo: Miles Howe]Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – Jessica Bastarache greets Evan Coole, organizer for ACORN Canada, at the back door of a Jackson Road low-rise in Dartmouth. There's no lock on the door of the building, and as we descend the stairs towards the basement level, signs of destruction and disrepair are everywhere.

Gaping holes have been punched and kicked in the drywall, pieces of which are ground into the hallway carpet. People have been playing tic-tac-toe on the walls with indelible markers. There are no fire extinguishers, some parts of the hallway are not lit, and exposed wires hang from the ceiling. The air is humid and stale, thick with moisture and mold.

“There's some splatter of something,” says Jessica, pointing to a sticky smear dripping down the hallway wall. “God only knows what that is.”

We crunch our way through the dimly lit hallway and stop at the apartment adjacent to Bastarache's. The lock on the door is broken, and the apartment is vacant. The smell from outside the door is one that suggests an absence of breathable oxygen, and we all reflexively recoil a half-step.

“This one here is the bad apartment. I don't know if you want to go in here,” says Bastarache as she opens the door.

EMC News: Herongate tenants win battle for repairs

From left, George Brown, ACORN legal council, Daniel Tucker-Simmons, law student at the University of Ottawa, Suzanne Bouclin and David Wiseman professors at the University of Ottawa faculty of law attend an ACORN press conference on Oct. 2.EMC news - Ontario's Landlord and Tenant Board has awarded tenants living with mould on their windows and holes in their walls in the Herongate area more than $75,000 in rebates and repairs.

For months, Ottawa ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been lobbying to force property owners to put much-needed repairs into homes and apartments in the Herongate community.

On Oct. 2, members of ACORN called a press conference to announce what they called "celebrating a win" against a landlord in Herongate.

"We are here to celebrate some victories that we have had with our rental abetments and to thank all our volunteers who helped us over time dealing with the rent abetments," said Mavis Finnamore, ACORN member, adding that the group has had a 95 per cent success rate in pleading out their cases.

So far 31 cases have gone through or are still pending at the Ontario's Landlord and Tenant Board, according to ACORN.

580 CFRA: Ottawa ACORN celebrates win in Herongate

Herongate ACORN press conference, Oct. 2 2012. Members of an advocacy group calling for reform are celebrating a win against a landlord in the Herongate area.

Ottawa ACORN has been lobbying for months to get Transglobe to put much needed repairs into homes in the low income area.

Ontario's Landlord and Tenant tribunal have awarded tenants living with mould on their windows and holes in their walls over $75,000 dollars in rebates and repairs.

ACORN member Mavis Finnamore said they've had a 95 per cent success rate in pleading out their case.

"This should really cause people who are in difficulty with their landlords to stop and think here is a chance, at least, to get after landlords who are slow with repairs or don't want to have to deal with your problems," she said.

While repairs are underway, she said more must the done to prevent landlords from neglecting their tenants--- they want the city to create legislation that would create a minimum standard for residential properties.

Ottawa ACORN's Herongate Chapter Honoured by Award Nomination from Action Housing

John Redins, right, is a founding member of Ottawa ACORN's Herongate chapter.Members of ACORN from Ottawa's Herongate community have been nominated for an award from Action Housing. 

The nomination comes following their very succesful, and ongoing, project to get basic and vital repairs done for Herongate tenants. Read more about that work, and all the people who made it happen here

Member John Redins joined 4 years ago and helped start the ACORN chapter in Herongate. John says, "We starting fighting for tenants rights and putting pressure on the landlord to adhere to the landlord tenant act. Much of the act is not protective for tenants and it is mainly for landlords. Our landlord changed 10 times in 9 years and we couldn't keep up with the change. We had to get organized, get the city involved for change."

Find out more about the award and the other nominees here.

If you're interested in coming to the award presentation on Thursday at City Hall, contact Action Houing or Ottawa ACORN's office

Housing Crisis in Ontario

ACORN members rally for Healthy Homes. Last Thursday, September 20th, leading members of ACORN Canada Kay Bisnath and Tina Morris met with Kathleen Wynne, Member of Provincial Parliament for Don Valley West and Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

On behalf of ACORN members across Ontario, Bisnath and Morris were asking for an immediate response to the crisis that tenants in Ontario are dealing with: stronger rent control – on all rental units, not just occupied ones - and action now from the provincial government to protect tenants from slum landlords who refuse to do basic and vital repairs.

Minister Wynne thinks there is no crisis.

We disagree.

ACORN Celebrates $55K Victory in Herongate; Gives Thanks to Volunteers!

A meeting of ACORN members in HerongateOttawa ACORN members in the Herongate neighborhood have made major progress in their campaign for liveable housing. Dozens of members, working with lawyers, law students and professors they have forced their landlord to spend over $55,000 on necessary repairs. Other tenants have reached financial settlements due to years of neglect - these total more than $20,000. 

Without the incredible dedication and solidarity of all the volunteers involved, this would not have been possible. George Brown supervised the project. Derek Schroeder, Oriana Pollitt, Eric Girard, Daniel Tucker-Simmons, Miriam Martin, Sabrina Seibel, Iman Amin, and Mike Currie put in hundreds of hours of work. Professors David Wiseman and Suzanne Bouclin helped initiate the project, and are now working to plan next steps. ACORN members are very grateful to them all.

Ottawa ACORN will hold a press event to announce the next steps of this project on Tuesday, October 2nd at noon. It will take place at 1480 Heron Rd