Know Your Housing Rights Sessions for Sex Workers


Project Update – Thank you to Maggie’s, South Riverdale Community Health Centre and Regent Park Community Health Centre for hosting CERA’s housing rights sessions for sex workers over the past six weeks. Special thank you to all the participants for sharing their housing experiences and learning about their legal rights as tenant.

Whenever possible, CERA uses creative models of legal education to engage with communities in meaningful ways. 100% of participants said the sessions gave them a better understanding of their rights in housing. 74% said the information they learned will significantly benefit their lives.

The collaborative sessions combined legal education about housing rights with mural making, led by community artist Catherine Moeller.

What we heard from participants about the mural making:

  • “Great alternative way to express what I have learned.”
  • “It brought people together and it helped express feeling through art.”
  • “Provided a means of expression for those who are less verbal.”
  • “Yes it allowed me and participants to illustrate what a city of inclusion means to them.”

You’ll be able to check out the murals on display the last week of March, location to be announced shortly!

Thank you to the Law Foundation of Ontario.

 

PROJECT UPDATE! Facilitating Local Responses to Housing Discrimination

After two exciting years of work, we are bringing our Facilitating Local Responses to Housing Discrimination Project to a close. We are very pleased with the success of this initiative and are exited to share the new resources developed with our partners with you. For this initiative, we collaborated with partner organizations in Ottawa, Hamilton, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, London, Windsor and Toronto. Recognizing that local housing priorities are diverse, our work focused on the specific local needs identified by the communities we worked in, including: challenges faced by urban Inuit, Metis and First Nations renters in Ottawa; discrimination against Aboriginal youth in Thunder Bay; discrimination directed at newcomers in Hamilton; failure to accommodate tenants with mental health disabilities in Sudbury; the housing needs of aging residents in London; discriminatory practices affecting lower-income renters in Windsor; and discriminatory barriers facing women in Toronto.

While discriminatory barriers exist in all housing markets, we know that the specific issues that are acute and emerging differ in communities across the province. Through our project work, we have begun to foster local capacity to address housing instability through community work and knowledge sharing with precariously housed tenants and their housing advocates. Specifically, we have been able to:

• Foster partnerships in seven communities, including six communities outside of Toronto;

• Develop and distribute thousands of resources that are responsive to housing related challenges that are community specific benefiting tenants, service providers, and housing providers who need this information;

• Deliver 26 in person public legal education sessions throughout the province;

• Develop and support Human Rights and Housing Ambassadors in communities across the province; and

• Follow through on conversations and ideas that stretch back to 2012, advancing progress on key issues identified in each community.

After many hours of writing and lots of conversations with our wonderful partners across the province, we developed a large number of new resources for tenants, service providers and housing providers across Ontario. Here they are! Please share them with your family, neighbours, and communities to help fight against housing discrimination.

RESOURCES 

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet Hamilton

Fact Sheet London

Fact Sheet Ottawa

Fact Sheet Sudbury

Fact Sheet ThunderBay

 Fact Sheet Toronto

 Fact Sheet Windsor

Myth Cards

Myth Cards Hamilton 1

Myth Cards Hamilton 2

Myth Cards London 1

Myth Cards London 2

Myth Cards London 3

Myth Cards Ottawa 1

Myth Cards Ottawa 2

Myth Cards Sudbury 1

Myth Cards Sudbury 2

Myth Cards Thunder Bay 1

Myth Cards Thunder Bay 2

Myth Cards Toronto 1

Myth Cards Toronto 2

Myth Cards Windsor 1

Myth Cards Windsor 2

Self Advocacy Toolkit 

Self Advocacy Toolkit English

Self Advocacy Toolkit French

Self Advocacy Toolkit Inuktitut

 Self Advocacy Toolkit Spanish

Self Advocacy Toolkit Arabic

Tips for Tenants 

Tips for Aging Tenants, London

Tips for Indigenous Tenants, Ottawa

Tips for Indigenous Youth, Thunder Bay

Tips for Newcomers, Hamilton

 Tips for Tenants, Windsor

Tips for Women, Toronto

Tips for Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities and Addictions, Sudbury

We want to sincerely thank all of the partners who helped to make this work a success including: Age Friendly London Network, CMHA Sudbury Manitoulin, Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, Housing Help Hamilton, Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic, Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s Drop In, Sistering, Voices Against Poverty and numerous shelters, drop-ins and community organizations in Toronto.

We also wish to thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, for their support of this initiative.


 www.otf.ca

While we are bringing this project to an end, we are looking forward to new opportunities to continue this exciting work in these communities throughout 2017!

CERA Will Reignite Work on Women’s Rights

We are excited to announce that in 2017, with the support of Status of Women Canada, CERA will reignite our work on women’s rights by partnering with IRIS and Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Center and a number of other women serving agencies in Toronto.

This project will address systemic barriers that contribute to housing insecurity in Toronto through the development of an action plan that addresses barriers to safe, affordable housing and increases access to housing options for marginalized women across the city.

This project has been funded by Status of Women Canada.

New initiative – CERA working with sex workers on housing rights issues

Making Room, Creating Place: Announcing arts-based human rights legal education for sex workers.

This Wednesday, CERA will be joining Maggie’s Sex Workers Action Project for our first housing rights workshop for street-involved sex workers. During these workshops, participants will learn about their housing rights under law; learn skills to self-advocate; creatively engage with artistic message-making strategies.

We are excited to be working the wonderful folks at Maggie’s, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, and Regent Park Community Health Centre.  And we’re excited to learn from participants about their experiences.

We know that sex workers face intersectional discrimination all the time, along with significant and distinct barriers to housing. In a survey of 34 sex workers, we heard that:

  • 61% (of 24 responses) have faced discrimination from a landlord
  • 34% face unaffordable rents
  • 67% have ongoing issues with pests
  • 56% have faced eviction
  • 47% have been denied a unit because of their income source
  • Most respondents said they feel landlords treat them differently for reasons related to their work.

In six sessions over the coming weeks we will be discussing these issues and thinking creatively about self-advocacy. Stay tuned for updates!

Thank you for support from:

We are hiring! CERA is seeking an Executive Director

Application Deadline: February 17, 2017

The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) is seeking an Executive Director to lead the organization.

CERA was founded in 1987 as a province-wide, not-for-profit   organization dedicated to promoting human rights in housing. Our work is founded on a belief in the inherent dignity and worth of all people. It is in this spirit that we carry out all of our initiatives, which share the common goal of intervening in cycles of discrimination that disproportionately affect low-income and marginalized individuals in the housing market. Through public education, advocacy, and law reform CERA works to address barriers preventing individuals from accessing and maintaining housing. We are a leader in our field, using both domestic and international human rights law to address homelessness and poverty.

Duties and Responsibilities

Operations Management

  • Manage the planning, implementation and delivery of the organization’s projects and services
  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization
  • Oversee the Human Rights & Housing Hotline, which provides free legal information and tenant advocacy

Financial Management

  • Oversee the financial health of the organization
  • Prepare budgets and regular financial reports for the Board of Directors
  • Administer the funds of the organization according to the approved budget

Board Engagement

  • Communicate regularly with the Board of Directors about the operation of the organization
  • Serve as an advisor to the Board of Directors on all aspects of the organization’s activities including the direction of the organization, its programs and services, and the financial health of the organization

Human Resources

  • Supervise and train staff, students and volunteers
  • Respond to employee grievances
  • Maintain a workplace environment free from harassment and discrimination

Policy Reform & Community Development

  • Lead policy reform efforts to improve housing regulation and policy, including participation in international, federal, provincial, and municipal processes
  • Engage in outreach and build community partnerships
  • Strengthen the organization’s presence in the community

Fundraising

  •  Oversee and engage in fund development strategies to raise revenue for the organization
  • Complete funding applications to secure ongoing funding for the organization

Qualifications and Experience

  • You understand human rights law and landlord and tenant law and have a thorough knowledge of housing and homelessness issues. It is a valuable asset if you are a lawyer in good standing with the Law Society of Upper Canada.
  • You have experience developing and implementing creative funding strategies, managing projects, and forging and maintaining strong relationships with funding and partner organizations.
  • You have experience managing staff and volunteers and managing budgets.
  • You have excellent writing and communication skills.
  • As a leader, you understand how to juggle multiple priorities and expand on the talents of a small group of dedicated and diverse staff, students, and volunteers.
  • You maintain an open, positive, respectful and exciting work environment where staff, students and volunteers are valued.
  • You care about people facing discrimination and eviction in housing and believe it is important to help them.
  • Experience working with a volunteer Board of Directors is an asset.

Terms of position

This is a permanent full-time position that offers a competitive benefits package. Salary is commensurate with experience.

How to apply

All applicants are asked to submit the following:

1. A cover letter;
2. An up-to-date curriculum vitae; and 3. A professional writing sample.

Please submit your application by February 17, 2017 to:

Renee Griffin
Executive Director
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation 164 – 215 Spadina Avenue Toronto ON M5T 2C7 Email: renee@equalityrights.org

Applications submitted via email must be sent as a single PDF document with the subject line “Application for Executive Director”.

We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

CERA welcomes applications from diverse individuals who self-identify on the basis of any of the protected grounds under the Human Rights Code. We are committed to full compliance with the Human Rights Code, the Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and all other applicable legislation. We will provide accommodation during the hiring process upon request. Information received relating to accommodation measures will be addressed confidentially.

Upcoming Community Forum – Strategizing to Prevent Seniors Evictions

CERA has been working with senior tenants and their service providers to understand the needs of older adults during evictions.

Join us for a candid and critical conversation about our findings, provide input on our preliminary recommendations, and support our public awareness campaign that puts the needs of older tenants on the radar.

Space is limited, please RSVP by February 19th

Details:

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 from 9:30am-1:00pm
192 Spadina Ave, Bigger Bolder Room, lower level
Light breakfast and refreshments will be provided.


If you have RSVP’d, thank you for reviewing our our discussion paper in advance of the forum on February 21st, as we will refer to its findings and recommendations throughout the day. This discussion paper is meant only for conversational purposes at this time – please hold off on sharing it with your networks until the final version is made public in March.

Download your copy here: Discussion Paper – CERA – Eviction Prevention for Seniors

Call for Nominations for CERA’s Board of Directors

The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (“CERA”) is currently seeking a new board member willing to contribute their expertise to our dynamic team. If you know someone who has an interest in human rights, housing, and fundraising, please consider nomination.

CERA is particularly interested in broadening the diversity of our Board of Directors, and are keen to include members who have lived experience of housing discrimination. We encourage individuals of various demographic backgrounds, ways of being, and walks of life, and we intend to structure our meetings in a way that accommodates the needs of all members.

We look forward to your interest in helping support the valuable work of our organization in promoting and protecting human rights.

For more information, including application the application process, download a copy of the call here.

apartment building

Eviction Prevention for Seniors Initiative – Ways to Participate

Did you know that the number of homeless seniors in Toronto doubled between 2009 and 2013? And that at least 10% of the homeless population of Toronto are older adults?

CERA is working with seniors across the GTA to identify eviction prevention strategies that work for them. We need to hear from senior tenants and their service providers. Join the conversation!

Upcoming Round-Table Sessions & Ways to Participate:

For Senior and Older Adult Tenants:

Round Tables will include a free lunch for participants, and TTC tickets will be provided. Spaces is limited. Please RSVP to 416-944-0087 Ext 3. Please let us know of any accommodations or translation needs in advance.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016  from 1:00-3:00 pm at Bathurst & Finch Hub, 540 Finch Ave West

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 from 9:30-11:30am at the Newmarket Seniors Meeting Place, Hall #1, 474 Davis Drive

Can’t attend a roundtable? You can share your story and thoughts in a variety of ways – fill out a tenant survey online or print a copy to mail in or contact us directly.

For Service Providers & Workers:

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 from 9:00am-11:30am at CSI Spadina, 215 Spadina Ave, 4th Floor. Light breakfast will be served.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016 from 9:30am-12:00pm at Bathurst & Finch Hub, 540 Finch Ave West.  Light breakfast will be served.

Can’t attend a roundtable? We are also seeking  feedback from service providers – please take five minutes to fill out our survey for service provideror stay tuned for opportunities to join the conversation online.

*Please RSVP to katie@equalityrights.org  or 416-944-0087 ext 3 or by Eventbrite.

*This page will be updated as additional sessions are scheduled

 

 

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