Hamilton’s prosperity “displacing” tenants in downtown

News Jul 30, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As Hamilton’s economic prospects have improved, especially in the downtown core, tenants say they are being forced out of their homes by landlords.

Eileen White, who helped organize a rally called “When Tenants Get Together, July 29 at McLaren Park at John and Cannon streets in the heart of the Beasley Neighbourhood, which attracted a couple hundred people, says she has been asked to leave her apartment unit on John Street North after two years. So far she has refused.

She says once the units are empty, landlords can charge higher rents, from $730 per month for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,050.

“When a unit is vacant, they leave it vacant,” says White, who has lived in Hamilton for 25 years.

Shamso Elmi, a local leader in the Somali community, says families are being pushed out of their apartments

“We have to put our foot down,” she told the crowd.

A Social Planning and Research Council report presented to the city earlier this year found that “gentrification” was occurring in the North End displacing low-income and working poor residents from their homes. It stated that nearly half the homes were rentals, with the monthly rate rising by 23 per cent between 2010 and 2014 compared to nine per cent for the rest of the city.

The need for more affordable housing units has also jumped. About a decade ago there were 4,362 people on the waiting list for housing, and while that number had dropped, in 2013 it rose to 5,477.

It’s a situation that Maria Antelo, of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, is all too aware. She has encouraged tenants to organize and has asked city officials to enforce bylaw standards.

“We are not unhappy Hamilton is rising up,” she said. “There is people investing and making Hamilton a better place to live. At the same time we don’t want people that are low-income, disabled, the working poor to be displaced from their homes.”

Activists are demanding that governments created affordable housing, which also means, says Antelo, keeping rents at a “reasonable rate.”

The rally, which had adults and children, beating on drums and chanting “We are people too, we are not going away” as they paraded along John Street North, was also a call for all levels of government to build more affordable housing, and for the federal government to establish a national housing strategy. The rally did attract a few politicians, including Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas NDP federal candidate Alex Johnstone, Hamilton Centre federal candidates Anne Tennier for the Liberals and Yonatan Rozensajn for the Conservatives.

City officials are aware of the tenant situation in the neighbourhood and they said staff is working on a solution.

Terri Wallis, who hosted the event, and has helped to organize tenants into associations, encouraged people to sign petitions, get involved and speak out. She said Hamilton’s housing problems isn’t just a downtown issue, but is happening across the city.

“We deserve to get what we need,” said Wallis. “Everybody deserves to have good, safe, clean, affordable housing.”

White told the crowd that despite what is happening to the community, “we’re here to stay and we are not going away.”

 

Hamilton’s prosperity “displacing” tenants in downtown

News Jul 30, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As Hamilton’s economic prospects have improved, especially in the downtown core, tenants say they are being forced out of their homes by landlords.

Eileen White, who helped organize a rally called “When Tenants Get Together, July 29 at McLaren Park at John and Cannon streets in the heart of the Beasley Neighbourhood, which attracted a couple hundred people, says she has been asked to leave her apartment unit on John Street North after two years. So far she has refused.

She says once the units are empty, landlords can charge higher rents, from $730 per month for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,050.

“When a unit is vacant, they leave it vacant,” says White, who has lived in Hamilton for 25 years.

Shamso Elmi, a local leader in the Somali community, says families are being pushed out of their apartments

“We have to put our foot down,” she told the crowd.

A Social Planning and Research Council report presented to the city earlier this year found that “gentrification” was occurring in the North End displacing low-income and working poor residents from their homes. It stated that nearly half the homes were rentals, with the monthly rate rising by 23 per cent between 2010 and 2014 compared to nine per cent for the rest of the city.

The need for more affordable housing units has also jumped. About a decade ago there were 4,362 people on the waiting list for housing, and while that number had dropped, in 2013 it rose to 5,477.

It’s a situation that Maria Antelo, of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, is all too aware. She has encouraged tenants to organize and has asked city officials to enforce bylaw standards.

“We are not unhappy Hamilton is rising up,” she said. “There is people investing and making Hamilton a better place to live. At the same time we don’t want people that are low-income, disabled, the working poor to be displaced from their homes.”

Activists are demanding that governments created affordable housing, which also means, says Antelo, keeping rents at a “reasonable rate.”

The rally, which had adults and children, beating on drums and chanting “We are people too, we are not going away” as they paraded along John Street North, was also a call for all levels of government to build more affordable housing, and for the federal government to establish a national housing strategy. The rally did attract a few politicians, including Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas NDP federal candidate Alex Johnstone, Hamilton Centre federal candidates Anne Tennier for the Liberals and Yonatan Rozensajn for the Conservatives.

City officials are aware of the tenant situation in the neighbourhood and they said staff is working on a solution.

Terri Wallis, who hosted the event, and has helped to organize tenants into associations, encouraged people to sign petitions, get involved and speak out. She said Hamilton’s housing problems isn’t just a downtown issue, but is happening across the city.

“We deserve to get what we need,” said Wallis. “Everybody deserves to have good, safe, clean, affordable housing.”

White told the crowd that despite what is happening to the community, “we’re here to stay and we are not going away.”

 

Hamilton’s prosperity “displacing” tenants in downtown

News Jul 30, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As Hamilton’s economic prospects have improved, especially in the downtown core, tenants say they are being forced out of their homes by landlords.

Eileen White, who helped organize a rally called “When Tenants Get Together, July 29 at McLaren Park at John and Cannon streets in the heart of the Beasley Neighbourhood, which attracted a couple hundred people, says she has been asked to leave her apartment unit on John Street North after two years. So far she has refused.

She says once the units are empty, landlords can charge higher rents, from $730 per month for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,050.

“When a unit is vacant, they leave it vacant,” says White, who has lived in Hamilton for 25 years.

Shamso Elmi, a local leader in the Somali community, says families are being pushed out of their apartments

“We have to put our foot down,” she told the crowd.

A Social Planning and Research Council report presented to the city earlier this year found that “gentrification” was occurring in the North End displacing low-income and working poor residents from their homes. It stated that nearly half the homes were rentals, with the monthly rate rising by 23 per cent between 2010 and 2014 compared to nine per cent for the rest of the city.

The need for more affordable housing units has also jumped. About a decade ago there were 4,362 people on the waiting list for housing, and while that number had dropped, in 2013 it rose to 5,477.

It’s a situation that Maria Antelo, of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, is all too aware. She has encouraged tenants to organize and has asked city officials to enforce bylaw standards.

“We are not unhappy Hamilton is rising up,” she said. “There is people investing and making Hamilton a better place to live. At the same time we don’t want people that are low-income, disabled, the working poor to be displaced from their homes.”

Activists are demanding that governments created affordable housing, which also means, says Antelo, keeping rents at a “reasonable rate.”

The rally, which had adults and children, beating on drums and chanting “We are people too, we are not going away” as they paraded along John Street North, was also a call for all levels of government to build more affordable housing, and for the federal government to establish a national housing strategy. The rally did attract a few politicians, including Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas NDP federal candidate Alex Johnstone, Hamilton Centre federal candidates Anne Tennier for the Liberals and Yonatan Rozensajn for the Conservatives.

City officials are aware of the tenant situation in the neighbourhood and they said staff is working on a solution.

Terri Wallis, who hosted the event, and has helped to organize tenants into associations, encouraged people to sign petitions, get involved and speak out. She said Hamilton’s housing problems isn’t just a downtown issue, but is happening across the city.

“We deserve to get what we need,” said Wallis. “Everybody deserves to have good, safe, clean, affordable housing.”

White told the crowd that despite what is happening to the community, “we’re here to stay and we are not going away.”