Along with the Hamilton Community Benefits Network, Hamilton Community legal clinic, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, Hamilton ACORN and the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, we're calling on Valery Homes to end the renovictions/demovictions that will forcibly displace Black and racialized families in Hamilton, and to work with tenants and our allies to find a solution that does not result in tenants being permanently displaced from their homes and neighbourhoods. We also call on Valery to provide tenants in the building with healthy living spaces by addressing the health and safety concerns in the building. Tenants are living with pests, broken elevators, uncleaned common areas and lack of repairs.
We want to echo Hamilton ACORN's existing demands to the City of Hamilton, including:
Pass a strong anti-renoviction strategy based on the licensing program from New Westminster, BC, improve the Tenant Defense Fund and implement a proactive tenant eduction program.
The city's rental licensing program should also be based on the RentSafe program from Toronto, to ensure landlords are keeping their properties in good repair.
The city's current demovictions policy (requiring development proposals that will result in the demolition or redevelopment of affordable housing units to demonstrate that, as a result of the proposed development, there is no net loss in the number of affordable housing units; and provide an acceptable tenant relocation and assistance plan) needs to be expanded city-wide, and strengthened by adding that tenants have first right of refusal in the new development to return to a unit at the same rent, similar to the rental replacement policy in Burnaby, BC.
Residents and allies of 192 Hughson Street met today to speak to the media about their experiences and protest these renovictions. We hope that city council will hear their call and take urgent action to legislate protections against the profit-driven displacement of our community members amidst the ongoing housing crisis in Hamilton, one of the least affordable cities to live in North America.