Workshop teaches tenants how to fight against displacement

News Apr 04, 2016 by Jon Wells The Hamilton Spectator

Words like renewal and rejuvenation seem self-evidently positive, often used to favourably describe Hamilton's urban evolution.

But positive is in the eye of the beholder.

If you believe they equate to being forced from your home, they take on a decidedly different meaning and inspire resentment and fear.

These were sentiments heard at a workshop Saturday aimed at educating tenants about the effects of gentrification, and also how to fight back against "abusive landlords, absentee slumlords and tenant harassment."

The event at the Perkins Centre at Main Street East and Kenilworth Avenue was hosted by the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network.

"Our purpose is to have tenant associations interconnecting to offer mutual support," said Shawn Selway, one of the organizers, who lives in the north end.

One of the speakers, Sara Mayo, a planner with the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, said at the heart of the issue are landlords who take advantage of tenants who don't know their rights.

About 35 people attended the final workshop session on gentrification — a term that means urban renewal which injects new investment into neighbourhoods, but can lead to the displacement of lower-income residents — and has done so in Hamilton.

Mayo suggested renewal in the city has shrunk available affordable housing units and driven up rents.

She said possible solutions to the problem include increasing lobbying on the federal government for a national housing strategy to address displacement.

Residents at the final session spoke out against high-priced apartments popping up on James Street North, and trendy cafés selling "$12 hamburgers."

One man lambasted talk of gentrifying Barton Street East and the notion of a "Bart crawl" meant to capitalize on the popularity of the existing art crawl: "You want to extend what you've already done along this path of displacement on James North, where they are actively trying to push people out?"

The last resident to speak, a woman named Jan Finch, said that tenants simply gathering to learn, share their concerns and rally is important.

"We still live in a society that sees money as power, but if we keep coming together like this, we will realize that our voices have power."

jwells@thespec.com

905-526-3515 | @jonjwells

Workshop teaches tenants how to fight against displacement

News Apr 04, 2016 by Jon Wells The Hamilton Spectator

Words like renewal and rejuvenation seem self-evidently positive, often used to favourably describe Hamilton's urban evolution.

But positive is in the eye of the beholder.

If you believe they equate to being forced from your home, they take on a decidedly different meaning and inspire resentment and fear.

These were sentiments heard at a workshop Saturday aimed at educating tenants about the effects of gentrification, and also how to fight back against "abusive landlords, absentee slumlords and tenant harassment."

The event at the Perkins Centre at Main Street East and Kenilworth Avenue was hosted by the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network.

"Our purpose is to have tenant associations interconnecting to offer mutual support," said Shawn Selway, one of the organizers, who lives in the north end.

One of the speakers, Sara Mayo, a planner with the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, said at the heart of the issue are landlords who take advantage of tenants who don't know their rights.

About 35 people attended the final workshop session on gentrification — a term that means urban renewal which injects new investment into neighbourhoods, but can lead to the displacement of lower-income residents — and has done so in Hamilton.

Mayo suggested renewal in the city has shrunk available affordable housing units and driven up rents.

She said possible solutions to the problem include increasing lobbying on the federal government for a national housing strategy to address displacement.

Residents at the final session spoke out against high-priced apartments popping up on James Street North, and trendy cafés selling "$12 hamburgers."

One man lambasted talk of gentrifying Barton Street East and the notion of a "Bart crawl" meant to capitalize on the popularity of the existing art crawl: "You want to extend what you've already done along this path of displacement on James North, where they are actively trying to push people out?"

The last resident to speak, a woman named Jan Finch, said that tenants simply gathering to learn, share their concerns and rally is important.

"We still live in a society that sees money as power, but if we keep coming together like this, we will realize that our voices have power."

jwells@thespec.com

905-526-3515 | @jonjwells

Workshop teaches tenants how to fight against displacement

News Apr 04, 2016 by Jon Wells The Hamilton Spectator

Words like renewal and rejuvenation seem self-evidently positive, often used to favourably describe Hamilton's urban evolution.

But positive is in the eye of the beholder.

If you believe they equate to being forced from your home, they take on a decidedly different meaning and inspire resentment and fear.

These were sentiments heard at a workshop Saturday aimed at educating tenants about the effects of gentrification, and also how to fight back against "abusive landlords, absentee slumlords and tenant harassment."

The event at the Perkins Centre at Main Street East and Kenilworth Avenue was hosted by the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network.

"Our purpose is to have tenant associations interconnecting to offer mutual support," said Shawn Selway, one of the organizers, who lives in the north end.

One of the speakers, Sara Mayo, a planner with the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, said at the heart of the issue are landlords who take advantage of tenants who don't know their rights.

About 35 people attended the final workshop session on gentrification — a term that means urban renewal which injects new investment into neighbourhoods, but can lead to the displacement of lower-income residents — and has done so in Hamilton.

Mayo suggested renewal in the city has shrunk available affordable housing units and driven up rents.

She said possible solutions to the problem include increasing lobbying on the federal government for a national housing strategy to address displacement.

Residents at the final session spoke out against high-priced apartments popping up on James Street North, and trendy cafés selling "$12 hamburgers."

One man lambasted talk of gentrifying Barton Street East and the notion of a "Bart crawl" meant to capitalize on the popularity of the existing art crawl: "You want to extend what you've already done along this path of displacement on James North, where they are actively trying to push people out?"

The last resident to speak, a woman named Jan Finch, said that tenants simply gathering to learn, share their concerns and rally is important.

"We still live in a society that sees money as power, but if we keep coming together like this, we will realize that our voices have power."

jwells@thespec.com

905-526-3515 | @jonjwells