Toronto ACORN

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Toronto Star: Crack down on ‘slum landlords,’ critics urge

It costs $1,100 a month to rent a three-bedroom apartment in the tower at 10 San Romanoway — but Glenice Edwards could do without the cockroaches.

Her city councillor agrees that bugs are a common problem in the Jane and Finch corridor — and that the city should act faster to force landlords to clean up their act.

Edwards is also worried the mould that grows out of the fan above her stove will harm the health of her young sons. She was once trapped in a broken elevator for 20 minutes on the way down from her 14th floor apartment.

But despite four years worth of complaints, the landlord of her 34-storey building “hasn’t done a thing,” she said.

“The roaches come and go,” she said. “It’s a mess. It’s a disaster.”

Edwards is part of the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now, a group of 20,000 Torontonians, calling on the city to crack down on “slum landlords.”

While cockroaches, mould and broken elevators are common complaints in Edwards’ building, they are dealt with in a timely manner, said Eric Khan of RPMS property management services.

Toronto ACORN honoured with Vital Ideas award at Vital Toronto 2011

On June 22nd, 2011, Toronto ACORN was honoured for its receipt of a Vital Ideas grant awarded by the Toronto Community Foundation.  Vital Ideas recognizes Toronto's most high-impact organizations and supports their work to stabilize, expand, or replicate programs with successful track records.

The awards were distributed at the Toronto Community Foundation’s annual Vital Toronto event, recognizing the achievements of a remarkable group of people and organizations who are working to make Toronto an even better city. Vital Toronto was hosted by Matt Galloway at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio.


Tenants Take Action in North Toronto

30 Toronto ACORN members from rallied last week at 100 York Gate Blvd. to protest the state of disrepair in the high-rise and to build public support for the ongoing campaign for improved apartment inspections in the city.

Members held signs, chanted, and collected petitions from supportive onlookers in front of the building.  They were later joined by local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza who vowed to help Toronto ACORN and tenants across Toronto fight for more apartment inspections and serious crack-downs on landlords like that at 100 York Gate Blvd.

Joined by Councillor Perruzza members gave CityTV a tour of the building, showing ongoing poor maintenance and code violations in public areas as well as individual units.

 

City commits to improved tenant communication in Toronto

The city division responsible for inspecting and auditing Toronto's nearly 6,000 multi-unit apartment buildings has produced a new report suggesting significant recommendations to improve communication between city inspectors and tenants.

The recommendations come after 2 years of consultations with Toronto ACORN members concerned with a lack of accessible information available to tenants once their building had been inspected.  The recommendations put forth by Licensing and Standards staff signify a big step forward in ACORN members' ability to influence and work in conjunction with a major city department and its senior staff, and we are excited to continue to fight for apartment standards improvements.

 

Toronto stands up for public services

RallyNearly 100 Toronto ACORN members joined with community and labour groups in an impressive rally of over 10,000 Torontonians who marched from Yonge and Dundas Square to City Hall to protest proposed service cuts.

Toronto ACORN leader Kay Bisnath was the first of several speakers who fired up the crowd in opposition to the impending transit cuts, user fees, and privatized public housing:

"No matter who you voted for, you didn't vote to cut services in Toronto.  We must protect our housing, jobs, and transit so that we have a city that works for everyone."

The massive crowd surrounded City Hall and delivered thousands of postcards to city councillors urging them to vote against the proposed cuts and give respect back to the taxpayers.  In response to the rally, Rob Ford committed to holding public consultations in neighborhoods around the city before following through with the decision.

 

Toronto ACORN wins commitment for new housing bylaw

April 1st - Toronto ACORN board members held a private meeting with the new Chair of the city’s Licensing and Standards Committee, Councillor Cesar Palacio.  Licensing and Standards is the Committee that oversees apartment inspection and Toronto ACORN members spoke to the need for new municipal bylaws that would more rigidly define landlords’ responsibility for maintaining Toronto’s aged and deteriorating housing stock.

Councillor Palacio promised to work closely with our members in the coming months to write, amend, and introduce new apartment standards bylaws aimed at improving standards for tenants.

Carmen Respondek, a board member from East York had this to say following the meeting: “We need to change the law.  In a city with half its population renting, there needs to be more legal protection for tenants so landlords are held accountable.”

Now Magazine: The True TCHC Scandal

It’s a windy Tuesday (March 15) afternoon at the corner of Eglinton Ave. and Markham Rd. in Scarborough. It feels much colder than the forecasted six degrees – but you’d never know by the energetic group that has gathered here.

People chant and wave handmade signs: “Cockroaches don’t pay rent!”, “Revitalize don’t privatize,” and “TCHC: Show us the money!” while others urge passersby to “Honk for better housing.”

As the media frenzy surrounding the TCHC spending scandal continues, tenants at 3171 and 3181 Eglinton Ave. E. want to turn attention away from chocolates and spa dates. What’s happening here gets to the guts of TCHC’s problems — poor service to the tenant’s it’s serving.

This collection of tenants, some of whom are members of ACORN Canada, a community organization dedicated to justice for low and moderate-income families, have invited mayor Rob Ford and city councillor Gary Crawford today to see their living conditions – and to ask when real improvements will be made under new management. Neither show

Toronto Sun: Boy shivers because of broken window at TCHC building

Ryan Elsherif has to wear three layers of clothing and triple up on the blankets to get to sleep because the bedroom window at his Toronto Community Housing Corp. apartment has been broken for two months.

“It is just so cold at night. Sometimes I come out and sleep on the couch but I hate that because it is so hard,” said Ryan, 11, who lives at 3171 Eglinton Ave. E.

“I think they are lazy. They aren’t doing anything else even though they have a whole lot to do around here,” he said Wednesday.

Ryan’s mother, Leslie Schofield, said she has been to the TCHC offices numerous times to get the window repaired. It broke while there was a flood in the building.

“The property manager has seen it and just keeps saying we will get back to you and they don’t. It makes me feel terrible that my son has had to put up with this,” said Schofield, who works six hours a week as a lunchroom supervisor at her son’s school. “I wish I could stop paying my rent, but it gets paid directly through Ontario Works.”

Jeffrey Ferrier, a spokesman for TCHC said they dispatched staff to meet with Schofield Wednesday afternoon and discovered the inside pane is intact and the outside pane is broken but will be fixed “shortly” buy the property management company Fengate.

“We have also met with representatives of the private company that manages the building on our behalf to make sure that they understand the need to act quickly to fix problems like this,” Ferrier said in an e-mail.

But it is outrageous that these kinds of conditions exist in Toronto, said Natalie Hundt with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now [Canada].

“The level of neglect for livable, affordable housing in this city is unacceptable and shameful,” Hundt said. “Mayor Ford has been talking a lot about restoring public confidence in TCHC and ACORN [Canada] is using this opportunity to draw attention to the deplorable conditions in the buildings with the hope that something might now change.”

Ferrier said the window was one of several issues raised by the buildings tenants and TCHC staff will be at the building next Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to hear those concerns.

You can read the original article at: http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2011/03/16/17641511.html

Inside Toronto: TCH residents share stories of poor living conditions, safety problems


For about two months now, Ryan Elsherif, 11, has had to look at the world outside his Scarborough bedroom through a shattered window.

"We had to go out and buy a heater and it's still pretty cold at night," the boy said Tuesday as tenants of two public housing highrises invited reporters to see conditions there.

In Ryan's case, his bedroom carpet was a casualty of a flood that drove him out of the ground floor unit at 3171 Eglinton Ave. E. he shares with his mother, Lesley Schofield, for a week.

When the boy returned, he saw the window was broken.

Schofield said she's made five trips to the management office for the building but the window is still broken, parquet tiles near the apartment's kitchen are loose or missing, and radiator covers Schofield said must be replaced lie on the floor.

Management employees who visit, the part-time lunchroom supervisor charged, "just jot things in a book, and forget about it."

Toronto Sun: Ontario toughens welfare diet rules


Extra cash for chronically ill welfare recipients to eat healthy will be harder to get starting April 1 under new rules designed to combat fraud and comply with an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling -- changes that are making some sick people nervous.

"We really do not want to disadvantage people who need the special diet allowance, people who are ill and who need that extra money to live with their illness or condition," Rebecca MacKenzie, a spokesman for Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said.

"At the same time, fraud is unacceptable," she said. "Fraud that happens hurts everyone else who is in the program for the correct reasons."

As of April, recipients of the special diet allowance will all have to reapply for the program, consent to have their relevant medical records checked and have their applications signed by a doctor or registered nurse practitioner, nutritionist or midwife.

As well, there are changes to the rates people with different conditions would be paid, with some afflictions getting less money or delisted altogether.

Those changes were the result of the human rights case in which patients with conditions such as diabetes or obesity that did not qualify for the program sued.

The tribunal ruled in their favour so the province set up a panel of medical experts to recommend which conditions would qualify.

MacKenzie said while people with some conditions may qualify for less money, many will qualify for more.

But Edward Lantz is nervous.

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