Posted June 25, 2021
London members of The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) held a rally outside of London City Hall on Tuesday, for what they say is to “demand urgent rent relief for struggling tenants.”
ACORN Canada is a national multi-issue organization made up of low-and-moderate income families, with London Ont. being one of the organization’s newest chapters.
ACORN says that thousands of tenants have fallen into rental arrears in London due to the pandemic.
The organization is calling on London council members to implement a rent relief program for rental arrears to prevent homelessness and support those facing eviction.
ACORN also wants to see rent grants put into place, and not loans as they say thousands of people are simply not in the position to pay back a loan.
“We’d like to see some of the funding go towards grants for those that need it,” says Diane, whose with ACORN London. “There’s just some landlords that charge so much for rent, that there’s no way you can juggle a loan and your rent.”
“People need to use their voices to express how they feel about the homelessness in the city, and the lack of affordable rent. It just takes a little more funding from the city for mental health, drug addiction help and those kinds of things. But they just don’t seem to want to help the less fortunate,” says Diane.
ACORN members have suggested to the City of London to use a portion of the remaining Social Services Relief Funds to implement the rent grant program through the Housing Stability Bank.
The organization has raised the idea of changing its criteria for those who would be eligible for the relief program, suggesting that it should be open to all people who are facing eviction due to the pandemic.
They would also like to see The City of London follow Toronto’s footsteps and remove the condition of having a regular source of income to be eligible.
Some of the other steps ACORN London is asking the Housing Stability Bank to take are: automatic defer of all loan payments for up to 12 months, take steps to eliminate red tape, and help people navigate rent bank resources, as many people don’t know about the rent bank.
Article by Angelique Guerard for XFM News