A ‘funeral march’ through Kitchener mourned the loss of affordable housing

Members of Waterloo Region’s Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) marched through downtown Kitchener on April 18, fighting for full rent control for the whole province.

They dressed in black and called it a funeral procession as they mourned the loss of affordable housing.

ACORN obtained a report that was drafted by the Region of Waterloo about the number of ‘renovictions’ happening locally. Co-chair of the Waterloo Region ACORN chapter, Maribel Jagorin, said the report had some shocking information.

According to the report, Ontario has seen a 300 per cent increase in the number of N-13s filed between 2017 and 2022. An N-13 form is what landlords use to evict a tenant or tenants for a renovation or repair.

“Kitchener-Waterloo is actually number six in the whole province of Ontario for the number of N-13s filed,” Jagorin said on The Mike Farwell Show on Thursday.

The area also had a 130 per cent increase in the number of N-13s filed between 2017 and 2022.

An N-12 form is filed when a landlord wants to evict a tenant for a personal reason like to move in an elderly parent.

“There was 127 per cent increase in the number of N-12s filed in Kitchener-Waterloo between 2017 and 2021,” Jagorin said.

Jagorin added that Ontario saw a 70 per cent increase in the number of N-12s filed between those years.

In 2018, the Ford government enacted legislation so rent control only applies to rental units created or occupied before Nov. 15, 2018.

“What we find very common is that the tenants are intimated and because of no emotional and mental energy to fight it they just don’t, they just leave,” said Jagorin.

They started the ‘funeral march’ at 425 Lancaster St. W. in Kitchener, where a mass eviction happened. Paula Mahoney is one of the tenants living there, she told CityNews she felt intimated by her landlord to leave.

“They’ve turned off my hydro, they’ve turned off my water, they’ve cut my internet, they put a big dumpster-sized, bus-sized dumpster in front of my bedroom window for five months which was pretty scary,” Mahoney said.

According to Mahoney, they started construction without permits but stopped briefly after she phoned the city.

“They tried to evict everybody, but I didn’t leave because I know my rights and I knew the way they were. I wouldn’t get back in easily, so I stayed.”

Mahoney added that she has a brain injury, and this has caused a lot of stress for her.

A member of ACORN who was at the march, Lynne Intini, said she would like to see more rules put in before a tenant can be evicted.

“I have six years of rent control, if my building is sold or if the management of my rental company changes, I could easily be in the same position, and I have been in that position before. Fortunately, rents weren’t quite so high at the time,” Intini said.

ACORN protest
A previous protest hosted by ACORN Waterloo.

“Putting the burden on tenants to prove evictions are in bad faith, only provides the illusion of fairness. Systemic factors rarely align to allow tenants to remain housed.”

The members of ACORN marched from 425 Lancaster St. W. to 250 Frederick St. where another mass eviction is happening. Jagorin said over 100 units there are being evicted by the landlord.

“It’s a large, mass eviction, so that demonstrates how the problem of renoviction is even greater than what this data shows.”

ACORN is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, they’re a membership-based community that fights landlords and corporations through direct action. They also fight for new and improved laws to protect people’s rights.

“Who lives in older buildings? Who lives on affordable housing? Most people who live in there are seniors and the most vulnerable in their community,” Jagorin said.

ACORN is planning another march on May 8 that will start at 250 Frederick St. at 1 p.m. where they will protest for full rent control as they walk towards Kitchener City Hall.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today