THE COUNTIES, Ontario – The Social Planning Network of Ontario along with Social Development Council of Cornwall and area is launching a tenant research and advocacy project in Cornwall, SDG and Akwesasne.
Cities, towns and rural areas across Ontario are rapidly changing and many residents have been displaced from their homes and their communities. For many, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find and keep housing, especially since the COVID 19 pandemic. Many people are experiencing physical displacement: being forced to leave their homes due to eviction related to renovations and redevelopment, moving due to rising rent costs, or because of experiences of discrimination and/or harassment. Additionally, many people are experiencing other types of displacement at the same time: losing social networks, supports, services, and amenities like the grocery store, bank, or community centre.
Social Planning Councils across Ontario along with community advocates are attempting to address the issue of displacement in our communities by showing Ontarians what is going on for tenants and renters in the province.
The project is called Many Faces of Urban and Rural Displacement: Ontario Tenants Organize and Speak Up.
The project has two parts – Part one is to collect the stories of those who have been impacted in both urban and rural settings by displacement through qualitative data collection supported by Dr. Brian Doucet at the University of Waterloo.
Part two is about engaging tenants to create joint advocacy initiatives in each region to promote change for tenants.
The work will be undertaken in four distinct communities: Oxford County, York Region, Kingston and District, Cornwall and Area.
Displacement in Ontario is largely invisible, especially for tenants and renters who are low income. Acquiring this information/data will be critical to understanding the extent of the issue and will reveal the underbelly of the larger crisis of displacement occurring in communities across Ontario, which in turn, will inform housing and in particular rental policy moving forward.
Individuals with lived experience of displacement and precarious housing are central to this work and are engaged in all aspects of the project, from research design to developing tenant led initiatives. Solutions exist within communities and can be mobilized, but only once the full extent of the problem surfaces and those most impacted have a role in asserting their rights and defining solutions.
The research portion of the project is underway now. If you or someone you know has been displaced in the last 10 years and is willing to share their story, anonymously, please contact Anna at email@example.com to set up a time for an interview. All participants will be compensated.