Somerset Ward Mailer 17: Tenant Defence Fund, Shelter Crisis Taskforce, budget survey, mental health resources and more

The word “renoviction” is not just a buzz phrase, it’s an unfortunate reality for so many people in our city. The story is often the same – a long-term tenant who is paying a moderate rent is told that they must vacate their apartment so the landlord can do necessary renovations. 

The word “renoviction” is not just a buzz phrase, it’s an unfortunate reality for so many people in our city. The story is often the same – a long-term tenant who is paying a moderate rent is told that they must vacate their apartment so the landlord can do necessary renovations. When they move out, the landlord makes a few cosmetic changes and then puts the apartment on the market for a rent that is hundreds of dollars more than what the previous tenant was paying.

Sometimes, the landlord simply stops making necessary repairs, letting a lower-rent apartment fall into a serious state of disrepair. This is often used as a tactic to push rent-controlled tenants out of their homes – a form of demolition by neglect. The kind of case that we see time and time again in our ward office – and it’s often seniors who are being pushed out of the homes they have lived in for decades.

When tenants are facing an illegal eviction, an above-guideline rent increase or an insect infestation, they often have no one to help and reach out to their councillors’ office. We had four calls like this just this week.

This is why I was pleased to introduce a motion at Community Services Committee this week, instructing staff to bring forward options for the creation of a Tenant Defence Fund as part of the city’s 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan. The motion passed committee and would not have been possible without advocacy from tenants and Ottawa ACORN.

Preventing unjust evictions is one way to help fight homelessness in our city. But as many of you are well-aware, the crisis is not improving and is in fact getting much worse. As colder weather approaches, we are faced with the reality that our city’s shelter system will soon be overwhelmed. Last week, our office found out that 40 people were forced to sleep upright in chairs in one city-funded shelter, because there was no more room to lay mats down on the floor.

Until now, we have always been a city where there has always been a warm bed available to anyone who needed it. We want that to continue – and to do so, we need to invest in urgent emergency solutions. I was pleased to be added this week to a new Emergency Shelter Crisis Taskforce, along with Mayor Sutcliffe and Councillors Dudas, Plante, Carr and Hubley. We will be working together to ensure that there is a warm place to go for everyone in our city who needs it.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe joined Councillor Troster on a tour of West Centretown this month

We know that the long-term solution to homelessness is scaling up affordable and supportive housing. But in the meantime, we need to make sure that no one freezes to death because of a lack of shelter beds or warming centres. I'm ready to do this urgent work with the taskforce and city staff. I will share more details as I receive them.

Wishing a fun and spooky Halloween to those who celebrate,



New site plans and consultation dates for 1010 Somerset

Thank you to everyone who filled out the Engage Ottawa survey for the proposed new development at 1010 Somerset/Plant Recreation Centre. The city heard you loud and clear and will be revising the plan in response to extensive feedback from the community and stakeholders. Given the volume of responses and interest in this project, staff needs more time to develop revisions.

The virtual engagement session scheduled for November 2, 2023, has been delayed. We will be in touch soon with new dates for both a virtual and an in-person consultation session, where residents can expect to see new options for a proposed site plan. Thank you to the community for speaking out – your engagement made a difference.

Budget 2024: Your priorities 

We want to hear from you! This month, our office launched a city budget survey with Councillors Leiper and Menard, to help us better understand the needs of residents across the city and how you want us to spend your tax dollars. This survey is open to residents across Ottawa – fill it out on our website today.

A Better Lansdowne rally

On Thursday November 2nd, there will be a joint meeting of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee and the Planning and Housing Committee to discuss and decide on the Lansdowne 2.0 proposal. Councillor Menard is hosting a rally at City Hall beforehand that is calling for an alternative to the current proposal, one that puts the interests of the public first. The rally will be outside of City Hall in Marion Dewar Plaza (on the Laurier Avenue side) at 8:45 am. Hope to see you there. You can RSVP here.

Get spooky at Trick or Treat with the Mayor

Trick or Treat with the Mayor is back! Come down to City Hall on Saturday, October 28 and join in on the spooky Halloween fun.

Meet a cast of costumed characters in the “Weird and Wonderful" Heritage Building where you will be welcomed by the Enchanted Witches and Goblins of Elgin Street. Collect special treats and venture down the Hall of Villains for more goodies and fun. Finally, meet more of your favourite, fun costumed characters in Jean Pigott Place and brace yourself for a meeting with the Tooth Fairy.

The City of Ottawa is proud to partner with Treat Accessibly to help make trick-or-treating accessible and inclusive for everyone.  

Date: Saturday, October 28

Time: 5 to 8 pm

Location: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Street West
Enter at the Lisgar Street entrance of the Heritage Building

Admission: A non-perishable item or cash donation to the Ottawa Food Bank’s Baby Basics Program

Please email [email protected] to advise us if you need any accessibility-related accommodation.

Help choose the design for the St. Luke’s Park basketball court 

Great news! The basketball court at St. Luke’s Park is getting completely re-done this summer. We worked with the local basketball community to come up with two design options. Check it out and vote on which one you like best.

Ottawa Public Library survey and closure

Ottawa Public Library wants to hear from you – even if you don't have a library card! Fill out OPL’s survey here and enter to win one of one hundred $50 Visa gift cards! This information will be used to strengthen and improve OPL’s efforts to bring the valuable benefits of the library to more people in our city.

All branches of Ottawa Public Library will be closed on Thursday, November 2 for OPL’s biennial employee forum and development session. Online services are always available at Regular hours will resume Friday, October 3.

Reviewing Ottawa's Heritage Register

Provincial legislative changes implemented through Bill 23 have amended the Ontario Heritage Act. As a result, the City of Ottawa is currently undertaking a review of the approximately 4,600 non-designated properties listed on the city’s municipal heritage register.

The intent of this project is to gather information on the heritage conservation interests and priorities of Ottawa residents. We are interested in hearing from individuals, community associations, historical societies and others about historic places across Ottawa that you think can contribute to telling the Ottawa story. Heritage properties can include resources such as buildings, landscapes, bridges and barns.

The information gathered through this project will support the City’s review of the municipal heritage register and inform the identification and prioritization of heritage designation candidates from the properties currently listed on the City’s heritage register.

Learn more and contribute here.


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