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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Can’t attend a roundtable? We are also seeking feedback from service providers – please take five minutes to fill out our survey for service providers or stay tuned for opportunities to join the conversation online.
*Please RSVP to email@example.com or 416-944-0087 ext 3 or by Eventbrite.
*This page will be updated as additional sessions are scheduled
UPDATE! : : : Interest in this position has been overwhelming! At this time we are no longer accepting applications for the Youth Advisory Committee. Please stay in touch with CERA about future opportunities
If you are under 30 and have ever faced discrimination in housing or homelessness, we want your input. This is a paid opportunity for you to connect with other young people and help CERA improve its services. More details on the flyer above.
We are accepting applications for 10 positions.
**DEADLINE TO APPLY: Email your responses to these questions to Katie@equalityrights.org by June 17th, 2016.
Or call Katie if you have any questions at 416-944-0087 Ext 3.
We are grateful for financial support provided by a grant from the Peter and Elizabeth Morgan Fund and the Vital Toronto Fund at the Toronto Foundation.
CERA is excited to announce that we have been selected as a 2016 Vital Ideas grant recipient! Evaluating and documenting curriculum, conducting research in community legal education and arts facilitation, and updating communications materials will allow us to expand our youth housing rights program over the next year.
We are grateful for this support provided by a grant from the Peter and Elizabeth Morgan Fund and the Vital Toronto Fund at the Toronto Foundation.
Find out more about this exciting project and the other inspiring Vital Ideas grant recipients.
CERA is pleased to announce that we have received support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to develop community based, eviction prevention strategies for seniors. As part of this initiative, we will identify eviction prevention strategies through a senior-driven process in the GTA. Using a collaborative gap analysis, we will gather information about the current needs of seniors; identify service gaps within programs that are already in place to assist senior tenants; identify solutions and strategies to prevent the eviction of senior tenants; provide best practice and policy directives; and identify next steps toward further assisting seniors and preventing evictions.
Stay tuned for exciting updates about this initiative in the coming months!
The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario. We sincerely thank them for their generous support of our work.
PROJECT UPDATE! Facilitating Local Responses to Housing Discrimination
After many hours of writing and lots of conversations with our wonderful partners across the province, we’re excited to share over twenty new housing rights resources and self-advocacy tools for tenants that we’ve been working on over the past several months. Here they are!
At CERA, we believe that knowing your rights is the first step to making them a reality. These new tools are designed to offer tenants and housing sector professionals key information and strategies to enable Ontarians to realize your human rights in rental housing. Translated versions are coming soon!
Want to self-advocate with a landlord about a time you were treated unfairly under the Human Rights Code? You can use these postcards to educate landlords and your friends and family about housing rights in Ontario.
If you or your organization would like hard copies of any of the above resources, please contact us at renee(at)equalityrights.org
Next Steps! CERA will be re-visiting our partners across the province to work with local Housing Rights Ambassadors on spreading the word about human rights in housing in April and May 2016. Stay tuned! If you would like to join one of our upcoming workshops, contact Renee at renee(at)equalityrights.org.
Thanks again to our partners for their feedback and guidance:
Age Friendly London Network, CMHA Sudbury Manitoulin, Housing Help Hamilton, Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic, Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s Drop In, Voices Against Poverty and numerous shelters, drop-ins and community organizations in Toronto.