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.

Ottawa Citizen: Ottawa ACORN targets Michele Park in call for safer parks

Concerned west-end residents held a rally Tuesday in Michele Park, one of the parks in the area they say is no longer safe for children and families.

About 15 people attended the rally organized by Ottawa ACORN, which represents low-income families.

“We’re here today to get more lighting in our parks and to make it cleaner and safer for our children. As you can see, there are no garbage receptacles anywhere. There’s a lot of garbage on the ground and in the sand,” said Jessica May, a resident and ACORN member.

May says she no longer brings her newborn baby and three-year-old daughter to Michele Park or the park near her apartment in the Britannia area. “I’m worried about our children’s safety. I know we’re low income but we have a right to light in our parks just like everyone else. It’s not safe to walk in the dark.”

Ottawa Sun: Britannia families demand safer neighbourhood

Britannia area families are demanding neighbourhood security to keep their children safe.

Local residents and ACORN members gathered at Michele Park Tuesday afternoon to ask the city to stop violence, theft and drug trafficking that regularly takes place in their parks.

Community volunteer Bill Robinson helps out Michelle Heights children in homework clubs and has heard about their fears first hand.

“The kids do find it unsafe, I know a couple of them have told me that they’ve been very fearful,” he said. “They’ve told me about fights they’ve witnessed and things going on in the park.”

Jessica May is a young mother and has lived in the community since 2009.

“It’s terrifying at night — it’s not safe with all the gang members around, it’s too dark,” she said.

“And now that it’s winter it’s getting darker.”

But she said parks aren’t the only problem — it’s the entire community.

“I’ve had a lot of disturbances in my hallways, I always hear yelling in the parking lots, I’ve also been confronted by other males that are in the building or in the neighbourhood making rude comments to me,” she said.

According to May, another problem is litter: Throughout the entire park only one trash bin is visible and garbage is littered throughout the grounds.

City Councillor Commits to Park Cleanup

15 Ottawa ACORN members from the Britannia chapter held a press conference and gave local City Councillors a tour of a derelict park this week as part of a community clean up effort. Mark Taylor, the neighbourhood’s City Councillor, signed a commitment to have city staff replace and improve broken lighting and garbage and recycling bins, as well as the overall upkeep for the park.

The event was held in Michele Park and leader member Cheryl Smith had this to say:

"we've met with the councillor and we asked for these things so we're hoping that with the media's help we'll see faster results."

The action was led by new member Jessica May, who showed the councillor around the park. The press conference was covered by the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Metro, Ottawa Sun, and the CFRA.

Ottawa Leadership School a Success

Members from Ottawa's Mechanicsville Chapter hosted the second leadership school in our Ottawa Community Change Project with a focus on understanding the municipal process and ensuring poverty reduction measures play a vital role in City Hall's mandate. This was the largest turnout of any day-long leadership school we've ever held, with 36 members participating. Organizations such as the City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) worked to build an agenda and collaborated on workshops for the school and we would like to thank them for their help and support.

Ottawa ACORN Member Jawahir Ismail who attended has this to say:" I learned how to speak up and that you must say your point about what your community needs are. You need a good plan to work through and set a goal that is realistic for the community."

Toronto tenants make livable housing an election issue

Tenant members of Toronto ACORN rallied outside of 1901 Weston Rd. with the hopes of making tenant issues a priority in the upcoming provincial election.

1901 Weston Rd., a building owned and maintained by Toronto Community Housing, is an example of the need to enforce both municipal and provincial apartment standards laws on all landlords - both private and public.  Many of the tenants of 1901 are seniors or have mobility issues and are forced to endure bedbug and cockroach infestations, unanswered work orders, bad elevators, high crime, and a recent flood that left dozens of tenants stranded without furniture or compensation.

Toronto ACORN has been fighting for a system of Landlord Licensing for 7 years that would include regular, pro-active inspections of apartment buildings, a Pass/Fail notification system, and a city administered escrow account.

Ottawa Metro: Tenants’ cries heard via Ottawa ACORN

Landlord has agreed to increase trash collection to twice per week. Regular meetings begin next month.
Anti-poverty activist group Ottawa ACORN is optimistic there will be progress on alleged maintenance and garbage-collection problems at the  Heron Gate rental complex.

The property manager of the complex, TransGlobe Property Management Services, has vowed to meet with Ottawa ACORN and a representative from the city on a monthly basis to report tenants’ concerns.

The planned meetings, which start on October 19, follow a private meeting on Sept. 12 between Mayor Jim Watson, Coun. Peter Hume, Ottawa ACORN, a TransGlobe representative, representatives from Dalton McGuinty’s office and bylaw enforcement.

The meeting was called after Ottawa ACORN made a public plea to the mayor to enforce bylaws they said TransGlobe was violating.

“The only reason I’m optimistic is because it was clear that the mayor and the councillor were so behind us,” Marx said.

TransGlobe regional manager Murray Osterer said the meeting was “very productive” and that they will happen. “We’re going to work closely with resident representatives and strengthen the lines of communication here,” he said.



Ottawa tenants celebrate Herongate progress

Last week Herongate tenants - lead by Chapter Co-Chair Erica Marx - met with Mayor Jim Watson, City Councillor Peter Humea, the CEO of Transglobe REIT and Starlight Properties (both formally Trangslobe Properties), representatives from Premier McGuinty’s office and municipal bylaw enforcement as part of an ongoing campaign to see pressure managment to perform repairs to the dilapidated complex.

With support from the Mayor and the City, Ottawa ACORN won a commitment from Transglobe to improve staffing, including sensitivity training, improved multi-lingual communication, and major new investments in maintenance.

The city answered our call for improved garbage collection in the community by increasing garbage pick up to twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays). The city has also asked Transglobe & Starlight to increase dumpster bin size and fix garbage chutes in buildings.

Bylaw enforcement and Ottawa ACORN will meet with the Management once a month to follow up on progress and to report tenant concerns.


580 CFRA: Bylaw Enforcing Laws at Heron Gate Residence: Mayor

Mayor Jim Watson says Bylaw Services is now "proactively" monitoring and enforcing property standards at Heron Gate residence.

Members of the [Ottawa] ACORN Heron Gate tenant group called on the Mayor to get involved to ensure property standard bylaws are enforced at the Alta Vista property.

The group cites rotting wood, mould and pest infestation as among the issues that are ignored by Transglobe Property management.

In a statement to CFRA News, Watson says Bylaw will take a "zero tolerance approach" and will conduct monthly meetings with all stakeholders to ensure units are repaired as required.

Watson has contacted the Mississauga company and indicated he expects them to maintain the building to property standards.

Original article available at:

Ottawa Metro: Mayor pledges to aid Heron Gate

Mayor Jim Watson is frustrated that the city is spending time and effort on maintenance problems in the Heron Gate housing complex and says he will personally intervene to resolve the situation.

Tenants have been complaining for months about outstanding work orders to fix problems such as mouldy basement walls, vermin and garbage not being picked up.

“I have sympathies for the residents who have had some real challenges with the maintenance and cleanliness,” Watson said.

Watson is arranging a meeting in early September with property owner Transglobe Property Management Services, Ottawa ACORN and the Heron Gate community association.

Ottawa ACORN held a press conference yesterday with about 25 tenants to make a public plea to the mayor to enforce city bylaws, which they claim are being violated by Transglobe.

“Things have deteriorated over the years, but especially in the last four years since Transglobe took it on,” said Philip Rosen, a Heron Gate resident of 31 years.