Toronto ACORN

Toronto ACORN was founded in 2004, with the first organized group in Canada being formed in Weston / Mt Dennis after tenants took their slum-lord to task and won $250,000 in rent abatements.  In the next ten years Toronto ACORN spread to every part of the city leading the fight and winning significant victories including raising the minimum wage; strengthening of the enforcement of apartment building standards; regulating the payday loan industry in Canada; and countless improvements in our neighbourhoods.  In the next year we plan to fight for a new Residential Tenancy Act; to turn up the heat on predatory lenders that sell consolidation loans; to continue our fight to get the city of Toronto to license all landlords in the city; and to keep the pressure on to close the digital divide.

Toronto ACORN has local meetings in your neighbourhood and they are always open for new people to get involved. Join Toronto ACORN now!

 

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Toronto ACORN Update

ACORN Canada members in Toronto are coming together this summer for livable housing, remittance justice, and gardening.

They’re working now to let their neighbors know about ongoing campaigns for more affordable and livable housing. On August 29th they’ll come together for a national day of action on livable housing – call the office now if you can help build towards that.

The community garden co-founded by ACORN members near East York’s Dawes Rd. is thriving this year. Send us an email if you can help look after it.

Member Profile: Rohan Jagroo

Rohan Jagroo joined Toronto ACORN’s Weston chapter in August, 2011 because his landlord wasn’t doing the repairs and cleaning that were needed in his high-rise apartment  building.

He’s been active since then - participating in and leading neighborhood meetings, visiting his Member of Provincial Parliament to lobby for changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, and speaking to the media on behalf of the organization.

In addition to his leadership and organizing on local campaigns for better housing, he’s become very involved in the campaign for remittance justice. In February of this year he and other members met with MPP Jagmeet Singh to plan for the introduction of a private member’s bill that would bring remittance justice to Ontario. It was tabled on May 31st.

URGENT: MPPs Need to Hear from Tenants

On Tuesday, ACORN members took a message to Queen’s Park.

The justice committee was meeting to discuss Bill 19, which would amend the Residential Tenancies Act. There are important changes needed to that act, but Bill 19 as it’s currently written won’t make any of them.

What’s needed? An end to vacancy decontrol. Right now, rent increases are only regulated for as long as an individual tenant lives in an apartment. When they move out the rent can be dramatically increased. This puts long term tenants in the crosshairs of unscrupulous landlords, and it leads to unsustainable increases in the cost of rental housing. ACORN is calling for real rent control in Ontario.

Inside Toronto: Toronto tenants, politicians to talk rent control

Toronto politicians and tenants will talk this Saturday, May 12, afternoon about whether Ontario's government should reinstate permanent rent controls and allow the city to license its landlords.

ACORN Canada (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Canada) has fought for a system of landlord licensing in Toronto which would force landlords to pay for repairs, but it cannot happen without changes in provincial law.

The advocacy group, which says the city's rents "continue to skyrocket" as buildings deteriorate, also wants to see the province return to rent controls which limit permitted rent increases on apartments whether or not those apartments are vacant.

Liberal and New Democrat MPPs and city councillors have been invited to a provincial housing forum on these issues at 1:30 p.m. at the Ontario Federation of Labour building on Gervais Drive, near the corner of Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue East.

Original article available at: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/local/article/1353953--toronto-tenants-politicians-to-talk-rent-control

Press Release: ACORN Canada launches Centre for Tenant Organizing, new hub for tenant activism in Toronto.

ACORN Canada, a national membership organization of low and moderate income families, is announcing today the launch of new online hub of activism and organizing for Toronto tenants. 

The Centre for Tenant Organizing aims to be an online clearinghouse for tenant engagement – connecting tenants to organizing materials, campaign support & City services.  The launch is in response to demand from tenants across Toronto for resources to help them to unite their neighbours in campaigns and projects to win improved housing standards. 

The site was launched with a Vital Ideas grant from the Toronto Community Foundation. 

The site is available at: http://www.tenantorganizing.ca

Group protests rental conditions at St. Clarens Avenue Apartments

Tenants of a Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue area tower say they're suffering with rental conditions they are unable to live in.

A dozen residents of 730 St. Clarens Avenue Apartments rallied outside their building this week to bring attention to the issue. They claim they're dealing with poor maintenance, safety hazards and an insect infestation, including cockroaches and bedbugs.

Ana Dinar and her sister Mary Francisco began renting an apartment there in 2008 and said the longer they lived in the building, the more maintenance issues arose. Their shower ran continuously for months, they said.

"There's mold and mildew growing because of the constant running water," said Dinar at Wednesday's rally.

Fellow tenant Ahmed Rahman, who has lived at 730 St. Clarens for six years, said he waited for months to get his toilet repaired.

"Yes, it got fixed, but it took three months," said Rahman, who along with fellow tenants held signs that read, 'Honk for Better Housing.'

Heather Kilgour, the building's office manager, said she couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.

"I don't know what people were trying to prove," she said. "We take care of our tenants. We do repairs. We fix what needs to be done."

Toronto ACORN Stands Up for Fair Transit

On February 8th, Toronto ACORN members rallied at City Hall to support a motion put forward by TTC Chair Karen Stintz to create above and below ground rapid transit in neighborhoods across the city.  The motion was put forward as an alternative to Mayor Rob Ford's unfunded subways-only transit plan which would take decades to implement, leaving residents of Toronto's suburbs without decent, efficient rapid transit for years to come.  

Council voted against the mayor in a stunning 25-18 victory for the Stintz motion.  This victory came as the result of intense and persistent organizing by Toronto ACORN and community & labour organizations across the city, proving that with good organizing, we can make real changes at City Hall.

People Power Blocks Mayor Fords Cuts

Last night, following an intensive grassroots campaign, City Councillors from across Toronto voted 23-21 to defeat the majority of the cuts proposed by Mayor Rob Ford in his 2011 Budget.  The campaign was organized by labour and community groups, including many Toronto ACORN members in wards across in the City who called on their councillors to oppose the budget and its cuts to vital services across Toronto.

When it came time for a vote on the budget, nearly 50 Toronto ACORN members helped pack the chambers of City Hall to remind their elected officials that Toronto opposes these cuts.

Council debated various items on the agenda from 4:00 - 5:30, when we moved outside to join a massive rally put on by the Respect Toronto Coalition.  Members carried signs and chanted to protect TTC services, subsidized child care, and affordable housing.

Members were overjoyed to see that after months of intense organizing and active engagement, over $20 million in proposed cuts were rejected by council.

Despite Surplus, Mayor Ford Pushes for Deep Cuts

On January 17th, Toronto ACORN members from across the city will be rallying at city hall while city council meets to discuss and vote on Mayor Ford's proposed 2012 budget.  Despite the city's close to $150 million surplus, the Ford administration is pushing massive unnecessary service cuts as part of a radical conservative agenda.

Toronto ACORN members will be gathering at 4pm at the front doors of City Hall and progressing into council chambers with the demand that council votes against the proposed cuts to childcare, transit service, community centres, libraries and other services that are essential parts of our neighbourhoods.

Join Us >>
Where: City Hall (100 Queen St. West)
When: 4pm
Why: Call on City Council to reject Ford's cuts

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