December 5th, 2018

MPP Jessica Bell hosts town hall on affordable housing crisis in Toronto

NDP MPP Jessica Bell and NDP Housing critic Suze Morrison hosted an emergency town hall on Tuesday evening about the affordable housing crisis in Toronto.

“In my community, housing affordability is one of the issues I hear about most often,” said Bell. “From illegal evictions, to the decade-long wait for an affordable housing unit, the situation is dire and tenants need to know the services that are available to them.”

The most recent hit to housing affordability came with the release of Doug Ford’s Fall Economic Statement in November. The Ford government announced its intention to eliminate some rent control regulations, taking rent control away from an untold number of families. A decision Bell says has caused anxiety among members of her community.

NDP Housing critic Suze Morrison said Ford’s scheme hurts families, allowing his wealthy developer friends to continue to squeeze Toronto families for even more.

“Imagine living in a unit that’s in a newly-built development, and losing your rent control,” said Morrison. “Every month tenants will worry: is this the month my rent going to go up by 70 per cent, 80 per cent, 90 per cent? Am I going to be forced out of my unit because I’m not protected by rent controls anymore?”

“Rent control helps prevent these economic evictions, and protects rental stock,” said Geordie Dent,executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations. “This is why we’re seeing brazenly illegal evictions all around the province right now, where landlords, trying to cash in on a lack of rent controls, push out long terms tenants in order bring in new ones at a higher price.”

Jessica Bell and the NDP have called on the provincial government to maintain the important rent control protections, after fighting for years with the Liberal government to have them put in place for more renters.

The Federations of Metro Tenants’ Association, Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services, Councillor Mike Layton, ACORN and the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario all participated in the Town Hall, to discuss tenants’ rights, available services and wider advocacy on the issue. The meeting space was packed with roughly 100 community members in attendance.