Ottawa ACORN

404 McArthur Ave. (Heartwood House) Ottawa, ON K1K 1G8

Phone: 613-746-5999

onacornot@acorncanada.org

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Member Profile: Sheila Searles

Sheila Searles is a Leader from the South Ottawa ACORN. She's a woman who has always been an active in her community, having served on tenants associations and as the Shop Stewart for her union.

She first became ACORN member in early 2009 after attending her first local chapter meeting. Sheila first heard of ACORN when another member knocked on her door asking her to buy a raffle ticket to help support the leadership conference to Toronto last year.

Sheila has been an active and passionate activist in our housing campaigns since she joined and was part of the leadership team that negotiated major renovations from Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) in summer 2009.  Those negotiations lead to her building and the neighbouring building receiving much needed new investments including new carpets in the hallways, new paint in the hallways, new security camera, new lighting on the outside of her building, new alarm systems, and individual unit repairs. She continues to be a leader within her building and community and actively meets with OCH as a leader of ACORN to ensure repairs and issues are addressed.

Ottawa Metro: Affordable housing plan needed: ACORN

July 9th, 2010 by Steve Collins - Ottawa Metro

About two dozen people gathered outside cabinet minister John Baird’s constituency office to call for a national affordable housing strategy.

Members of the local chapter of the Association for Community Reforms Now (ACORN) came out in support of Bill C-304, a private members’ bill introduced by NDP MP Libby Davies.

“We’re one of the richest countries in the world, and every other (G-8) country has a national housing strategy. Shame on Canada for not having a national housing strategy,” ACORN board member Kathleen Fortin said. “There’s 10,000 people here in Ottawa on the waiting list for housing.”

After the rally, the group attempted to meet with Baird. Office staff refused to open the door, so demonstrators taped a sign to the office door and slipped an information sheet under it.

Ottawa EMC: Residents rally for housing strategy

July 15th, 2010 by Katie Stewart - OttawaEMC

EMC News- Ottawa residents rallied with ACORN last week to bring awareness and gain support of Bill C-304, which calls for a national housing strategy.

If passed, the bill would require the federal government to bring all levels of government together to enact a plan to increase safe and affordable housing across Canada.

"We need to build affordable housing in Canada. We're the only G8 country without a national housing strategy," said Ottawa ACORN member Sheila Searles, who is also an active tenant leader in her building on Russell Rd. that is owned by Ottawa Community Housing Corporation.

Even though Canada is one of the richest countries in the world, in Ottawa alone, there are over 10,000 people on a waiting list for affordable housing. People can wait close to eight years for a unit to become available and in Ontario, the wait lists have increased by 9.6% in the last year.

"Housing is fundamental. Without stable housing, your education and job are jeopardized, It's essential," said Shannon Lee Mannion, community leader for affordable housing in Centretown. "Affordable housing helps stabilize people. It's a life raft."

Currently, the bill has gained the support from the Liberal, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois parties. When the bill passed its second reading in Parliament in September 2009, all MP's from these parties voted in support of Bill C-304. However, the Conservative government has yet to come on board and support the bill. Only one MP from the party voted in favour of the bill. There are 137 Conservative members of Parliament.

"They don't care because they don't have to care," said Ms. Mannion.

The demonstration of about 30 people on July 8 took place on Carling Avenue in front of the office of Conservative MP John Baird in an attempt to gain support of the bill. Mr. Baird voted against Bill C-304.

"We want John Baird and the Conservative government to give at least some consideration to this bill. This is important. It's a national crisis," said Ms. Mannion.

Andrea Thomas who is a tenant leader on her block in the east end said that the Conservatives who voted against the bill should try living in affordable housing to see how it feels for people who depend it.

"We need more housing and we need to gain the support from the Conservative government," said Ms. Thomas.

When the ACORN group approached Mr. Baird's office to present him with an information sheet, they were refused entry and were eventually ignored.

Mr. Baird's office would not provide a comment to The EMC.

"It you pay tax dollars, you deserve to talk to your MP. It's appalling," said Kat Fortin, supporter of Bill C-304.

Tahir Nazari, who voted for Mr. Baird in the last election, said he would not be voting for him again.

"We should get a response. I am living in Ottawa housing and we are facing problems. No one is helping," he said.

Presently, Ontarians are still waiting for a provincial strategy for affordable housing.

kstewart@theemc.ca

Le Droit: Manif pour plus de logements abordables

April 23rd, 2010 by François Pierre Dufault - Le Droit

Une association qui défend les locataires de logements abordables à Ottawa déplore le fait qu'encore trop de ménages sont dans l'attente d'un chez-eux.

Hier, des membres de l'Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) ont manifesté devant un complexe de logements abordables à l'angle du chemin Richmond et de l'avenue Croydon, dans l'ouest de la ville.

Ils ont voulu signaler aux gouvernements l'urgence de bâtir de nouveaux logements à prix modique et de rénover ceux qui sont déjà construits.

« Il n'y a pas assez de logements abordables et la situation ne s'améliore pas. Elle s'aggrave. On donne des logements abordables en priorité aux sans-abri qui devraient plutôt se trouver dans des maisons d'accompagnement et il ne reste plus assez de logements pour ceux qui vivent au salaire minimum », a dénoncé Diane Rochon, une membre d'ACORN à Ottawa.

ACORN propose également la création de fonds en fiducie où les locataires de logements abordables pourraient déposer leur montant de leur loyer, sans craindre d'être expulsés, dans le but de forcer les propriétaires à rénover leur logis.

À l'heure actuelle, plus de 10 000 familles sont dans l'attente d'un logement abordable à Ottawa.

Original article at: http://www.cyberpresse.ca/le-droit/actualites/ottawa-est-ontarien/201004...

 

Le Droit: Le logement abordable au coeur de la campagne électorale

June 16th, 2010 by François Pierre Dufault - Le Driot

Le regroupement des organismes communautaires pour la justice sociale à Ottawa enjoint les candidats aux élections municipales du 25 octobre prochain à s'engager à créer davantage de logements abordables.

C'est le message que l'Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) entend marteler tout au long de la campagne électorale. Le groupe demande la construction d'au moins 1000 nouvelles unités de logement abordable par année, seulement pour répondre à la demande.

« Les listes d'attente pour du logement abordable ne cessent de s'allonger », de constater Éloi Proulx, un membre fondateur de l'ACORN.

Selon les plus récents chiffres de l'Alliance pour mettre un terme à l'itinérance (AMTI), quelque 10 000 familles vivent dans l'attente d'un logement subventionné par la Ville d'Ottawa.

Jusqu'à présent, seul le conseiller municipal et candidat à la mairie, Alex Cullen, s'est formellement engagé à créer plus de logements abordables.

« Je veux y consacrer la moitié des 23 millions $ que le gouvernement de l'Ontario versera à la Ville d'Ottawa pour ses programmes sociaux. Ça ne va pas régler le problème, mais ça va donner un sérieux coup de pouce », a déclaré M. Cullen au Droit.

 

Citizen: Free clinic aims to take pain out of income tax season

A bicycle, new clothes, a trip to the museum -- these are some of the things Andrea Thomas can buy for her children with her income tax refund.

And thanks to a free clinic for low-income earners, the Ottawa mother of three gets to keep even more of her cash.

For a second year, the Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is offering to complete and file basic income tax claims for free.

Organizers say the service helps give people autonomy over their financial affairs and lets them contribute to society, but saves them the costly fees storefront tax-filing services levy. The going rate for such a service is around $80.

The clinic also ensures people get all the benefits they deserve, from GST rebates to credits for taking the bus and paying rent.

Last year, ACORN helped more than 600 people file their income taxes.

"It's a great program because it caters to all walks of life," said Matthew Bullock, the tax clinic co-ordinator.

Households earning less than $30,000 per year -- be they recent immigrants, seniors, students, single-parent families or people on income assistance and disability -- are the priority, he added.

Member Profile: Roy Anderson

Roy Anderson was a long time resident of Vanier who became involved with ACORN at the second meeting that was ever head after the founding of Ottawa ACORN.

Many members know Roy for his hard work on a number of campaigns, but most notably his leadership on the campaign to regulate payday lending.  After being taken advantage of an unscrupulous payday lender, Roy became a powerful advocate for reform of the industry.

He helped organize rallies, was a spokesperson to the press and worked to develop ACORN’s policies on the campaign.  During the midst of the campaign to see the province regulate payday lending Roy was fond of saying that “Before ACORN, no one was talking about payday lending. Now, we're winning change”.  

When Ottawa launched a tax site to help low income families with their income tax filling Roy was among the first to sign up to help.  He wanted the community to know that his organization wasn’t only out there opposing predatory financial practices; it was part of the solution.  With working families facing setback after setback because of the recession, Roy urged his neighbours to take advantage of the services, billing the tax site as a “mini-economic stimulus package for Vanier”.

On Oct. 22, 2009 Roy Anderson passed away.  He will be missed and remembered.

Action for Ottawa Living Wage Bylaw

We’ve passed the first hurdle towards a living wage bylaw in the City of Ottawa by winning the first vote directing City staff to investigate possible Living Wage options.

Now comes the hard part. Over the coming months City staff will investigate different types of living wage bylaws before presenting proposals to Ottawa City Council for a vote. We need to make sure we have the votes necessary on Council to pass the most progressive of the options that staff will present.

ACORN Members are taking to the streets to lobby their councilors; can you send a quick message in support of their grassroots efforts?

Click to Take Action to Win a Living Wage Bylaw >>

Action for Remittance Reform

We’ve passed the first hurdle towards a living wage bylaw in the City of Ottawa by winning the first vote directing City staff to investigate possible Living Wage options.

Now comes the hard part. Over the coming months City staff will investigate different types of living wage bylaws before presenting proposals to Ottawa City Council for a vote. We need to make sure we have the votes necessary on Council to pass the most progressive of the options that staff will present.

ACORN Members are taking to the streets to lobby their councilors; can you send a quick message in support of their grassroots efforts?

Click here to sign the Remittance Reform Pledge >>

 

Ottawa ACORN Big City Wide Meeting

Ottawa ACORN will be planning for upcoming campaigns as well as reviewing a great year of victories in the fight for stronger neighbourhoods and greater social and economic justice.

Where: Vanier Legion 294 Cyr (off Montreal Rd, right after Shopper's Drug Mart)

When: November 1st at 1pm

Bring your neighbors, friends and family. There's Power in Numbers! There will be childcare, refreshments, raffles, copies of the Housing Award given to Ottawa ACORN by Action Housing a few weeks back and ACORN 2009 Calendars for sale (call/email to office to reserve one in advance).

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