Comment 53160

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 15, 2010 at 13:26:57

The thing with gentrification and housing turnover is that low income areas tend to have much higher rates to begin with.

On behalf of the Anarchists, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I've spent years as a part of the James North art scene, like many others, helping it become what it is today. I'm sorry that I've been involved in actual anti-poverty work, and not just the interests of the business community. I'm sorry that I've had to go to the Landlord Tenant Board to help out friends living on James North with absentee Toronto landlords who don't feel compelled to fix busted toilets in under a month. And I'm sorry that the only ones who even get allowed into this debate on behalf of the thousands of marginalized people in the area are us (mostly) white privileged Anarchists, but what does that tell you about the debate?

The government (at all levels) has been seriously neglecting social housing for over a decade, and the private sector certainly isn't stepping up (slum-lords excepted). Yet, nearly all of the new development downtown tends to target middle-class buyers - hotels, office space, condos etc. As I've said for years, I'm not against wealthy people moving downtown - but when it comes to dominate the issue, this becomes a huge problem for the large numbers of people in these areas who rely on low-cost housing, as they tend to get forgotten about or worse. Nobody here can claim that they haven't read the calls, here or elsewhere, to just "get the dirty people out of the core". From proposals to ban swearing to people wanting to move social services and shelters, to the massive increase of cops on our streets (and the associated ticket-blitzes against "dirty looking people") there are some very real concerns here, and just because somebody's poor doesn't mean they don't have rights.

Roger Abliss knows this, he helped buy up a low-income housing building and turn it into artist lofts with a posh cafe. Is this evil in itself? Not necessarily. But certainly a trend to keep an eye on.

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