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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Sun: Inspectors to probe city's 5,000 rental buildings

City building inspectors are boldly going where they’ve never gone before in the battle against slum landlords.

“We’re actually going to get our own staff to go out there effectively with a checklist and do every single (rental) building in the city and kind of rate them,” Jim Hart, the executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards, said.

“It’s a big job but we’re going to do it. We’ve barely started it but it’s going to get going in the next couple of months.”

Hart said no one has attempted to catalogue the rental stock in the city before because the job was seen as too big.

Undaunted, he’s determined to send out about 100 inspectors to give nearly 5,000 buildings a once-over, so his 12-member audit team can better focus its efforts on the buildings most in need of improvements.

Star: TTC Riders Unite

For Edward Lantz, who lives on a disability income, the January fare hike means $11 less each month for groceries.

"We know what's going on in regards to people on low incomes. They're having a hard time deciding whether to pay the rent – it's either rent or food – and now this added cost of the TTC pass is coming into play," said Lantz, chair of the St. James Town chapter of ACORN, another of the riders' union organizers. (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now advocates for moderate and low-income families.)

Full article: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/ttc/article/728923--riled-red-rocket-rid...

Sun: Wounded man won't tell police

The building is no stranger to trouble.

In June 2008, a 31-year-old man was shot in the buttocks during an argument on the ninth floor of the building.

And in 1992, the 14th floor was the scene of a knifing homicide that left postal worker Richard William Stevens, 43, dead.

"Tenants don't feel safe. There's no security," said Tatiana Jaunzems, field director for Toronto ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

"Many people are stuck there simply because they have no place to go."

Full Articles: http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2010/01/09/12401466-sun.html

Tenants Vote 2010

In the last 5 years we’ve petitioned, we’ve picketed, and we’ve organized.

But the next 16 months leading up the municipal election are going to decide whether Toronto City Council is interested in improving standards for tenants or simply letting the status quo remain.

Today, Toronto ACORN is announcing a plan to escalate this campaign.

In the coming months every City Councilor will have a chance to vote on an ACORN-backed proposal to levy a fee on large landlords to fund pro-active apartment inspections.

Toronto ACORN is pledging to use this vote as a yardstick to identify a number of key ridings to run aggressive campaigns to increase the tenant voter turnout by 25% in support of councilors or candidates who support tenants.

But we need our supporters online to send a message to council and let them know we’re serious. Can you help? (Just click the link below)

www.tenantsvote2010.ca

Tenants Vote 2010

In the last 5 years we’ve petitioned, we’ve picketed, and we’ve organized.

But the next 16 months leading up the municipal election are going to decide whether Toronto City Council is interested in improving standards for tenants or simply letting the status quo remain.

In the coming months every City Councilor will have a chance to vote on an ACORN-backed proposal to levy a fee on large landlords to fund pro-active apartment inspections.

But we need our supporters online to send a message to council and let them know we’re serious. Can you help? (Just click the link below)

Click to Send a Message to Mayor Miller and Council >>

ACORN Featured in the Toronto Sun

ACORN Member Shows Toronto Sun Slum-Like Conditions in his Apartment

BEN SPENCER, SUN MEDIA  July 4th, 2008

If it wasn't so serious, it would almost be funny.

Michael Fitz Gerald peered up at the gaping hole in the ceiling above a neighbour's shower and shook his head.

From this third-floor Scarborough hellhole, he had a clear view of the piping leading to his bathtub on the fourth floor.

That's what six weeks of leaking pipes will do to 40-year-old drywall. While he may be at wit's end over his landlord's inaction, Fitz Gerald hasn't lost his sense of humour. "I just hope my tub doesn't fall through into her shower some day," he said.

 

Toronto ACORN Liveable Housing Forum

November 5th, 2008 - Toronto ACORN will be holding a Livable Housing Forum on Saturday, November 8th at 1pm at the Main Square Community Center (245 Main St., just south of Danforth).  The event is a part of ACORN's campaign to License Landlords in Toronto in the most effective way possible.

Toronto's neighborhoods are riddled with sub-standard living conditions forcing tenants to put up with black mold, bed bugs, and a lack of repairs, cleaning and maintenance.  Toronto ACORN members have been holding rallies and actions at slum-buildings around the city for 3 years to pressure the city to hold landlords accountable to their tenants.

City Hall is going to decide soon whether we get a strong licensing system or a weak one.  Toronto ACORN members demand to be heard!  We are inviting every city councilor in Toronto to attend the event.

Work isn't Working for Ontario Families

There have been two important developments in recent weeks of ACORN members taking the lead in the fight to put low and moderate income voices at the center of the discussion around poverty reduction.

First, on May 14th, 40 leading ACORN members traveled from across Toronto to Queen's Park to press their elected representatives on our Provincial Platform. ACORN  members  met with senior members of the Ontario Government as well as the Provincial NDP Caucus  and   brought with them a clear message:

Cap Payday Loan Rates - Ensure that the rate cap in the payday loan legislation focuses on returning money to working families.

License Temp Agencies - To fund pro-active inspections of labour conditions and  set maximum charges that agencies are able to charge employee's for work placements.

Raise the minimum wage - To $11/hour and peg it to inflation.

ACORN Organizing in the Spotlight

ACORN Members Featured in News Stories Across the Country!

Toronto / Ottawa / Metro Vancouver – Whether it's Landlord Licensing or a National Housing Strategy, ACORN Members are getting organized to win real change, and they're getting noticed.

Check out these quotes about our work:

From The Editorial Page of the Star on July 16th:

"Yet another report, this one from low-income people themselves, has blasted the federal government for failing to do enough to provide affordable housing in this country.  ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, gave the federal government an F in all four housing measures it analyzed in its report, released last week."

From the Toronto Sun on July 5th:

"The city is committed to establishing a landlord licensing regime, said Councillor Howard Moscoe…The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) wants the city to create programs that protect tenants and equalize their relationship with landlords. They want rental units to be inspected the same way restaurants are routinely reviewed and have the inspections posted."

From the Vancouver Metro on July 11th:

Members of ACORN were in Burnaby yesterday to demand the establishment of a housing minister and distribute their report card... "We have a huge crisis," she said. "The feds are rolling in surpluses … Where does that money go?" Cynthia Wiens, a resident of an affordable housing complex in Surrey, said that money should be going toward more social housing.

ACORN Members begin Licensing Landlords

Toronto – ACORN members in two neighbourhoods in Toronto frustrated by the slow pace of change from City Hall have begun Licensing Landlords themselves.

In East York, ACORN members from 500 Dawes rd. posted a "Fail" notice on the front door of their building. “Landlords abuse the weaknesses of the existing system to get around providing a safe and healthy environment for rent-paying tenants, and tenants are left with almost no protection” says Ahmed Makhlouf, a member of ACORN.

In Weston, ACORN members living at 15 and 25 Martha Eaton Way failed thier landlord MetCap, after even the most basic of repairs remain unfinished.  Resident and ACORN member Maria Valencia said this about the event; “It’s only fair if we’re following the contract and paying our rents that landlords hold up their end of the bargain and do repairs and maintenance,”

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