Read yet another report about poverty and housing issues… this one by the Wellesley Institute. The report is called Poverty is a Health Issue: What to look for in the next Poverty Reduction Strategy and is available online – or you can read the blog series about it.
I did start with the blog, but since it is housing that I am most interested in, I downloaded and read the housing section of the report and once again – much as when I read Brighter Prospects, and when I heard Gail Nyberg on CBC Radio today – I was left spitting mad.
HOW is it possible that so many smart people can’t seem to get past their biases against big bad evil landlords to LISTEN!?
Yes, I am a big bad evil landlord.
But I also happen to be a leftie, (card-carrying NDP, even) and worked many many years with marginalized populations. I worked at a camp for children with disabilities, group homes for adults with developmental delays, in a program with self injurious women, with the Ontario Association of Food Banks, and with FAME (Family Association for Mental Health Everywhere) … oh, and I worked as a Rights Advisor with the Ontario Advocacy Commission back when Ontarians with mental illnesses actually had rights … you know, before Harris.
And oh yeah…I’ve been there, too…I was a single mom for 17 years, give or take… I had PLENTY of my own housing challenges. I’ve dealt with both physical disability and other issues…. I KNOW how freaking hard it can be.
And it makes me crazy that just because I happen to be a landlord, it seems like everything I know is crap …and my input is no longer welcome to contribute to the conversation.
Yeah, yeah, I know… big bad evil greedy landlord… I must know NOTHING. Understand NOTHING. And none of my ideas are worth listening to.
Except you know what? I actually do know why – in spite of all the ~fair & balanced~ (ha!) legislation the Province of Ontario throws at us, many landlords (even card-carrying lefties like me) continue to discriminate against Ontarians on OW or ODSP. I learned it the hard way.
One memo, and a new section on a form … done and done.
It wouldn’t fix everything of course…. but honestly, people, it will go a hell of a lot further than the proposed housing benefit people keep spouting on about. And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than dumping more money into public housing, also.
A memo and a form change. That’s it.
Hey, I’ll even volunteer to write the memo and update the form for you… no charge.
You know what is going to happen if you DO manage to get your housing benefit and you do NOT fix the no garnish-able income problem? Ontario landlords will raise the rents again. Oh, it’ll take a while to trickle down …. we won’t be able to do it until we’re re-renting our units … but we WILL raise the rents again… to just past whatever the new shelter allowance is. And we still won’t rent to anyone who does not have a good credit rating and a garnish-able income. As long as the LTB = the Legalized Theft Board and the Sheriff’s Office = we take your money and do NOTHING small landlords in Ontario cannot AFFORD to rent to people on OW or ODSP.
So housing benefit will – eventually – lead to higher rental costs for everyone …. is that the plan?
Sounds like a terrible plan to me!!!
But hey, what do I know …I’m just a big, bad, evil greedy landlord.
Tell me what’s wrong with my suggestions right here. Please!