“Housing is a human right. There can be no fairness or justice in a society in which some live in homelessness, or in the shadow of that risk, while others cannot even imagine it.”
From the soaring towers on Yonge Avenue to the brick apartment blocks up the Vaughan Road, a huge number of people in Toronto St. Paul’s are renters.
Doug Ford’s Conservatives eliminated rent control on new buildings. And the owners of old buildings have plenty of loopholes to jack rents beyond the 2.2 per cent the law allows in 2020.
In fact, a recent Toronto Star article predicted that rents across Toronto would increase by an average of seven per cent in 2020 alone.
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Presidents’ message: fighting rent hikes
Happy New Year, fellow New Democrats!
I wanted to take the time to talk with you about a major problem in the riding—- housing affordability.
I myself have been dealing with fighting an Above the Guideline Increase (or AGI).
AGIs are a way for property owners and managers to increase the rent on units which are rent controlled above the set annual limit, which is 2.2 per cent for 2020.
For people on a fixed income or working to make ends meet, these types of increases can mean the difference between living independently and losing your housing entirely.
Going through the process myself, I’ve learned that the deck is very much stacked in the landlord’s favour. The policies seem like they were written with loopholes in mind so that landlords can claim almost anything to increase the rent.
Fortunately, tenants CAN fight back against AGIs.
The first step is forming a tenant’s association with others in your building. The next step is getting help from others who’ve been through the process.
Many of our members have stopped AGIs, and can help you do the same.
And please join me for our rent and housing canvass on Sat., Feb. 1 at 10 am. Meet at the north west corner of Yonge and Eglinton.
Provincial riding association president
For more help and info on rent increases:
The Federation of Metro Tenants Associations is an excellent resource that can provide real help if you and your fellow tenants are facing problems, including an above guideline rent increase. Their tenant hotline is 416-921-9494.
And here are two other great resources for information:
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
Toronto-St. Paul’s Tenant Associations Network
Changing the world, one song at a time
Our very own Ross Ashley, who is the riding associations’ long-time treasurer, is an active member of an amazing group called the Common Thread Community Choir, which is an “an eighty voice choir that sings for social justice and to build community.
Click here for a short video of one of their recent performances.
If you’re interested in joining, the choir is currently looking for new voices. Check their website for more details.
- Above guideline rent increase canvass: Sat., Feb. 1 at 10 am. Meet at the north west corner of Yonge and Eglinton.
- Canvassing: When we canvass – we win. Sign up here for our upcoming canvasses on Feb 4 and 15.
- Courage Toronto meeting: Tuesday, Jan 28 at 6:30 pm at Falconer Hall (84 Queens Park Cres, Room 102). More info here.
- Bernie Sanders phone bank night: Date and location to be determined. But if you’re interested, click here to send us an email.
- Wychwood Open Door Trivia Night: On Friday, Feb. 9, our riding associations will participate in the Wychwood Open Door Trivia Night at Wychwood Barns. We’re fielding a team of six: two people from the executive and four members other members chosen by random draw. If you’re interested, please reply to this email by the end of day on Friday, Jan. 31. The riding associations will cover the entry fee ($270), but we’re happy to take a donation if you want to help cover that cost!
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