PCED Solidarity Statement with the Parkdale Rent Strike

As members of the Parkdale Community Economic Development (PCED) Steering Committee, we would like to voice our support for the 200 tenants on rent strike against MetCap. We call upon Metcap to withdraw their rent increases, cease their campaign of tenant harassment and eviction, and address the structural repairs necessary to allow for a decent, healthy, and affordable quality of life in their buildings. We call upon AIMCo to freeze their investments in MetCap until they comply to meet the demands of tenants.  We also call upon the municipal, provincial, and federal government to address the rising pressures on high-rise rental apartments by developing policies and enacting regulations that protect the long-term affordability and preservation of rental units that house our City’s equity-seeking populations.

Increasing pressures from gentrification and real estate reinvestment have endangered local community assets. These assets have kept Parkdale affordable, and accessible to diverse community members, particularly low-income and marginalized community members. The pressures of gentrification-driven displacement have coincided with the rise of corporate landlords, who have been leading a campaign of harassment and displacement by evicting residents to increase rents above provincial rent guidelines. Currently three major corporate landlords in Parkdale – Metcap, Akelius and Wynn – own and/or manage around 2,000 units within 27 properties in South Parkdale, controlling close to 30% of total primary private rental units.

With the lack of secure long-term affordable housing, low-income residents have expressed mounting concern over their ability to stay in Parkdale. During our 18-month community planning study, many tenants who live in high-rise buildings owned by corporate landlords expressed feelings of stress and precarity brought upon by the systemic lack of repairs and harassment. What is important to note is that MetCap’s apartment buildings were originally built under the Federal Limited Dividend program, which provided public subsidies to private rental apartments for low-and moderate income people. If the government is aligned with protecting its renters – nearly half of the City’s population – then it is in the public interest to uphold the legacy of government investment in tower apartments by mandating landlords to conduct repairs and maintenance while sustaining units as deeply affordable.

What is at stake is the future of Parkdale. We stand in solidarity with Parkdale Organize in shaping that future into one that is more equitable, diverse, inclusive, and affordable.

Sincerely,

Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC)
Sistering – A Woman’s Place
West Neighbourhood House
Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
The Centre for Mindfulness Studies
Making Room Community Arts
The Jeremiah Community
West End Food Co-op

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