(An earlier version of this story appeared on www.hamiltonjustice.ca)
More than 200 central Hamilton residents rallied in McLaren Park last Wednesday..
Amidst chants and drum beats, tenants and housing advocates were putting out a message to all three levels of government the signs captured the feelings of those in attendance.
“Housing is a Right”
“Canada Needs a National Housing Strategy”
“We are the Faces of Affordable Housing”
The mainstream media was present. Dan Nolan from the Hamilton Spectator reported on the evening event in the July 30th edition of his paper.
Speakers called on all three levels of government to take action. Demands included
• That the City of Hamilton immediately take measures to mitigate the negative impacts of gentrification. The city’s current planning and policy documents have failed to take into account the very real impacts of gentrification on low cost rental housing.
• That Ontario’s Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS), which is currently under review, include measures to protect affordable housing so that units like ours will not be lost.
• That the federal government develop a national housing strategy. The emphasis should be on maintaining and creating and affordable rental housing that is safe, accessible and in a state of good repair.
Gentrification is a growing concern in the City the Clinic’s Maria Antelo told CBC Hamilton.
“Right now, what tenants want is whatever is available to keep (rent) the way it is and prices shouldn't going up because our city is becoming a bit trendy. At the same time there has to be a balance. Tenants understand that we do want beautification in our city, we do want investment in our city but we want politicians, developers to understand housing is a basic need, it's not a luxury." http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/hamilton-tenants-rally-against-gentrification-1.3171560