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.

Inside Toronto: ACORN Canada holds tenants rally, Dec. 30

Tenants of an East York highrise say they will rally Friday afternoon, Dec. 30, in front of their building.

Toronto ACORN, an advocacy group, is calling on the City of Toronto to force the owner to do repairs at 500 Dawes Road.

A fire in an elevator Dec. 8 injured two men working in the building, and Janet Davis, the local city councillor, met tenants of the building on Dec. 20 to discuss its condition and their rights.

In a release, ACORN, which is planning the rally for 2:15 p.m., said the owner "has a history of not doing repairs and of treating people poorly" and the city isn't responding to conditions in the building quickly enough.

An audit of the building completed Dec. 3 2008, found dozens of property standards defects but a city report this month found only five defects in the orders to the owner remain outstanding.

The owner, the report said, must still submit engineer's reports on the exterior and interior lighting, take a condition survey on concrete balcony floor slabs and repair the balconies, which "are not maintained in good repair"

The report also said walls in the parking garage "are not maintained free of holes, breaks or cracks."

Toronto Sun: Residents of east end building fed up

Talking about the cockroaches in her apartment makes at least one tenant of an east Toronto apartment building distraught.

There is also the inadequate heating, faulty appliances, defective toilets, mice, bedbugs and garbage piled high at the rear of the building, Lisa Hume said. But it is the cockroaches that keep her up at night with worry.

The scurrying roaches are so numerous when the lights are turned on in her 500 Dawes Rd. apartment that it sometimes appears as if the floor is moving, she said.

Hume was one of 40-or-so tenants of the building gathered in the lobby Friday to protest the landlord’s lack of upkeep of the low-rent apartment building, and the shoddy conditions they say they are living in.

After numerous visits from city standards, health and fire officials, tenants are now asking both the City and Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board to step in and help them.

Hume, who has been spearheading the tenants’ call for action along with a community activists Toronto ACORN, has consulted a law firm dealing in legal-aid cases.

Ottawa EMC: Young mom calls for change

Jessica May is trying to raise her two children in a safe community.

But when she visits Michele Park with her three-year-old daughter and three-month-old son, she's tired of finding needles on the ground.

"Our children play in these parks and anything could be buried (in the sand)," said the 20-year-old May, who attended Ottawa ACORN's rally for safer parks on Dec. 6 at Michele Park. "When I first moved here, I didn't know it was going to be this bad."

May, who lives in an apartment building on Ramsey Crescent, said she got her first apartment in the community in September 2009. Since then, she's had issues at Michele Park when it comes to lighting and garbage and she worries about gang violence at night.


She said she was also disturbed when a stabbing took place near her building.

"There was blood on my steps and I saw broken glass," May said, adding that she's been coping with depression because of where she lives.

Ottawa Metro: Residents kick up some dirt on Michele Park

Complaints of poor lighting, crime, garbage, drugs, needles in park

Bay Ward Coun. Mark Taylor vowed to clean up Michele Park and make the area safer after a small group of angry residents held a protest there on Tuesday. 

Residents said there isn’t enough lighting on streets at night and are worried about gang violence and garbage in and around the playground. 

ACORN Ottawa, a non-profit organization that advocates for low-income families, organized the protest. 

“As you can see, the garbage laying around —that’s a big issue,” said Jessica May, a mother of two who lives near the park. 

“We don’t know what’s in the sand. I’ve discovered needles, I’ve discovered joints.”

“It’s just not safe.”

Taylor reassured residents that he will address issues such as lighting, garbage and recycling receptacles, and maintenance of the park. 

But he also requested that the community take an active role in improving the conditions of the park.

Taylor encouraged the community co-ordinator for the area to attend his upcoming bi-monthly meeting in January to address residents’ biggest concerns.

Original article available at:

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.