This is our final bill of rights blog. We saved the most disturbing narrative for last and it was written by a person who wishes to remain anonymous. The subject of the blog is good quality housing. In our research, this issue came up for about 65 percent of our respondents. Three themes emerged from the data: maintenance (63 percent felt that maintenance was very important); cleanliness and infestation (over half of the respondents found cleanliness to be important. Infestation was grouped with cleanliness—see the narrative below for more on this); neighbourhood (23 percent of respondents argued that it is important to live in a good area. This often had a large affect on their understanding of “good quality housing.”
Another week, another Stigma Fighter! This week one of our newest Stigma Fighters is featured, Stacey Bowen. Here she is in her own words:
I was raised by a single Canadian-born mother and am the youngest of six children. I have never seen or met my Canadian-born father who died of a drug overdose. My mother raised my family using Ontario Works; a program also known as welfare. We moved to Regent Park when I was twelve. When I was twenty-eight years old, my mother passed away. After that, I got involved with drugs for eighteen years. During this time, had two girls, one when I was thirty-two and another when I was thirty-four, which I raised as a single mom. At the age of forty-six, I went into treatment and got clean and sober.
I went back to school; when I was forty-seven I graduated from the George Brown College “Assaulted Women's and Children's Counsellor/Advocate” diploma program. I also got an "Advanced Counseling" certificate. In the past, I have volunteered at Toronto Western Hospital, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (C.A.M.H.), Covenant House Toronto, Red Door Shelter and St. Felix Centre. Some of my paid jobs have included: Addictions Counselor at Renascent 21 day Treatment Facility, drop-in worker at "The Meeting Place," and, temp-reception work at "Working for Change," a non-profit organization that helps people with lived experience find employment. I am presently an inclusive employment peer worker at the Dream Team. In my free time, I enjoy nature. My Long Term Goal is to become an Author and continue with "Motivational Speaking."
The Stigma Fighters are back! This week it is the Stigma Fighter with the biggest heart and the one who delivers the most laughs–Aldo Cianfarani! Aldo was born in Italy and came to Canada when he was two years old. Presently, he’s the caretaker of three houses in Parkdale and two properties in Brampton. Aldo has volunteered with St. Christopher House’s community kitchen for over ten years. He has also been on the Brighter Days committee affiliated with Habitat Services for ten years. Aldo has been a Dream Team member for nine years. He likes camping, bike-riding, and going to movies. For over 35 years, he has also been a freelance disk jockey and is a pro at being the MC for weddings, banquets, baptisms, engagements, disco dances and house parties. His biggest memory is when he did a book launch for Houselink at the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre. To this day, Aldo MCs for Habitat Services and COTA at every dance they have. Aldo is very proud of being a member of Houselink Community Homes and the Dream Team.
Over the course of a year, the Dream Team research working group put a plan in motion to create a supportive housing, tenants’ bill of rights. By interviewing supportive housing tenants, we planned to get their insight into the sector to help us construct this bill of rights. The goals we set for ourselves and the bill of rights included producing a document that would help tenants hang onto their housing and learn how to advocate for themselves. We also envisioned that the bill of rights would eventually be used to determine what constitutes quality supportive housing.
By Margaret Redford and J.D. Spence
It’s been a while since we featured one of our “bill of rights for tenants in supportive housing” blogs. You might have thought that we were done with those blogs, but this is actually only the ninth of ten planned blogs on the subject!
According to the data from our research, our respondents argue that they have a right to “access supports and services.” Seventy-five percent of our respondents claimed they were receiving enough support.