“We have to hold landlords and corporations accountable,” Kowrika Suntharalingam, one of Acorn’s key organizers, said in a Zoom interivew. “We believe in the power in numbers and getting people organized. It’s effective.”
“It’s about banding together and saying ‘enough is enough.’”
Power in numbers
Acorn is currently working in 15 countries, including Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Dominican Republic, India and Kenya, as well as nine cities in Canada.
Acorn also tackles issues such as Internet affordability for all and an increase on minimum wage.
“Buyers and landlords have backed down because of Acorn influence,” Suntharalingam said at a rally at Jane and Sheppard. “Our actions are more direct. We would be the alternative to using legal aid like lawyers.”
It worked for McCarroll, who lives in the basement of a four-bedroom home. Acorn and the Parkdale Legal Clinic helped her through a landlord-tenant tribunal hearing in December, which she won.
“Acorn even wanted to protest right in front of my landlord’s office,” McCarroll said. “But we ended up sending them a letter emphasizing health and safety because I am disabled and at a higher risk of catching COVID-19.”
McCarroll plans to keep working with Acorn to help prevent her eviction in the future.