Home / Author: Sabine Frid-Bernards
Timbercreek (also called Hazelview), a well-known property developer in Ottawa, has applied for an Official Plan Amendment (OPA) with the city’s government, proposing to redevelop the Herongate area for the next 20 years.That’s right: two-zero. As in, two decades of one company having free reign over an area’s development.ACORN Ottawa sprang into action by submitting a list of tenant’s demands to city officials, which must include the following, among other demands, if the OPA is to be granted:
Local ACORN members followed this list of demands with a Rally for Herongate to push for affordable housing, no demovictions, and no displacement of the local community. Check out highlights from their action below:
ACORN India affiliate Dharavi Rocks, located in Mumbai, has recently released a new song with singer Suneeta Rao and musician Dhruv Ghanekar.
The new song was inspired by a study which linked climate change to a rising risk of pandemics, particularly in vulnerable communities. The song is an appeal to take care of our planet as well as each other, and calls for mindfulness about public safety during the COVID-19 crisis.
As singer and lyricist Suneeta Rao states, “Climate Change is a problem that threaten us all…no matter what country or belief system we belong to. It is time we looked after one another and ourselves… It’s time we realized what is most important…and what it means to be Human.”
Rao has also stated that all surplus funds from the new song will be directed to ACORN India.
Dharavi Rocks is an educational music and dance project initiated by ACORN Foundation, which focuses on the welfare of slum children and waste collectors by introducing them to creative outlets like music and dance in order to pass on and encourage valuable life skills.Watch the new video featuring the Dharavi Rocks band below:
If you’re interested in supporting Dharavi Rocks and ACORN India, click the button or check out the information provided on the flyer below.
From providing resources like reliable taxi services to quarantine isolation centers, to handing out food rations and speaking out against police malpractice, ACORN India has been hard at work as organizers mobilized quickly as the COVID crisis worsened within the country.
Dharmendra Kumar, of the ACORN India affiliate Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee, reported that they have received more than 250 calls in the last two weeks from community members, and are providing relief services that include distributing food kits, registering people for the COVID vaccine, helping with applications for credit assistance from the government, and offering counseling to patients with COVID.
Farther south in Bengaluru, organizers have reported that they’ve distributed 200 food kits — approximately 14,000 meals — as well as additional food and hygiene kits in Hebbal and Yelahanka areas. ACORN members also received services such as credit application assistance, and some informal workers also received their official ACORN ID cards. ID cards have been an especially difficult aspect of COVID for informal workers and migrant laborers, who previously needed them in order to receive food rations from the government before the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana loosened restrictions. These governments also recently announced that they would open a community kitchen and begin advertisements for places that would assist stranded migrant laborers.
Although the government of India has begun to provide a modicum of COVID relief, ACORN India still needs your help!
Check out the link below to donate, or get involved through the information on the flyer.
As India grapples with the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, ACORN India members and affiliates have stepped in to provide resources to local communities in need.
In Bengaluru, organizers helped distribute food kits to approximately 100 vendors, many of whom are out of work due to the pandemic. These kits include kitchen staples and dry rations, as well as PPE equipment.
Although informal workers make up nearly 93% of India’s working population, they are still a relatively unprotected and vulnerable group. Dharmendra Kumar, member of the Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee in Delhi, was quoted in the press recently speaking of the lack of adequate medical supplies:
As far as street vendors are concerned, with most of them being migrants, there are not many people here whom they can approach for assistance – especially in today’s time when even the well-off groups are finding themselves helpless.
ACORN India needs your help. If you are interested in donating to our organizers, click the link below:
Living Rent, ACORN International’s branch in Scotland, has been hard at work recently defending members against landlords, protesting forced evictions, and speaking out against injustices in their local communities.
Here’s what they’ve been up to lately:
Living Rent continues their ongoing campaign against evictions, with members being featured in the media in their fight against unfair or forced evictions.
Living Rent: Croftamie member Marjorie was threatened with eviction for not “having a durable connection to the area”, also known as: xenophobia
Evictions have been widespread in Scotland, including areas such as North Lanarkshire, Govanhill, Edinburgh, and Pollokshields. Tenants have been threatened and intimidated by landlords, and have also been subjected to inhospitable living conditions, including intense mold.
Living Rent’s response has been to file for an extension on the eviction ban, and group support to protect individual members.
Scotland recently held elections for the next Government, and Living Rent worked to raise awareness among voters to boost their familiarity on candidate and party policies on relevant issues to each Living Rent branch, such as the developing housing crisis, arrears, rising rents, and climate change.
Check out the link to find out more, get involved, and take action with Living Rent.
As the newest wave of COVID continues to affect communities throughout India, ACORN India members are speaking out against police misconduct, which is disproportionally affecting vulnerable communities.ACORN India was recently featured in one of the country’s most popular newspapers. Dharmendra Kumar, of the ACORN India affiliate and nonprofit Janhapal, spoke about the circumstances of the most recent wave in India, and how it affects the most vulnerable communities.
“Our ground experience shows police target the poor, marginalized and those who cannot speak up…As micro-containment zones are being set up and markets shut, the police are in charge on the streets. On the pretext of pandemic policing they victimize hawkers, pedestrians and the poor,”– Telegraph India
“Our ground experience shows police target the poor, marginalized and those who cannot speak up…
As micro-containment zones are being set up and markets shut, the police are in charge on the streets. On the pretext of pandemic policing they victimize hawkers, pedestrians and the poor,”
Local police have been scrutinized for using arbitrary and heavy-handed tactics against marginalized communities under the guise of COVID violations. In one study, cases against pedestrians increased from 50 per cent in the first lockdown to 89 per cent during the third lockdown.
As the COVID crisis in India continues, ACORN India and affiliates are stepping in to help marginalized and vulnerable communities. Donate to ACORN India here, or check out the information below.
As India remains gripped in the latest coronavirus upsurge, members of ACORN India have stepped in around the country to provide food supplies, resources, and quarantine support.
In Delhi, contract workers were recently granted two months of food rations after a push from nonprofit groups like ACORN India to provide resources for informal workers and those left behind by the government during the pandemic.
Despite these measures, communities affected by COVID are still in need. As Hawkers Joint Action Committee and ACORN ally Dharmendra Kumar points out:
“Later generations of migrants do not have documentation in Delhi or the place of origin. Government schemes generally favour property owners, and without their cooperation you can’t get a ration card. Most people eligible for rations are tenants.”– Telegraph India
“Later generations of migrants do not have documentation in Delhi or the place of origin. Government schemes generally favour property owners, and without their cooperation you can’t get a ration card. Most people eligible for rations are tenants.”
ACORN India, in affiliation with Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST) and the nonprofit Janpahal, has stepped in to provide additional support.
ACORN India has also been coordinating efforts and community outreach through a COVID Handbook, which details the testing centers, local hospital information, and traceable contacts for cab drivers who can be called on to transport members of the community to COVID testing sites. This handbook also shares information on a tip hotline for reporting scams related to COVID, such as fake medicine, ambulance pricing scams, and cases of oxygen hoarding.
Despite their efforts, ACORN India cannot fight COVID alone. If you’re interested in helping out our organizers, check out the link below:
One of ACORN Canada’s long-standing and hard-fought campaigns against predatory lending got a huge boost recently upon the release of the 2021 Budget.
The government has agreed to a consultation on the lowering of the federal interest rate, which has the potential to lower the NSF fee attached to predatory lending.
To find out more about what this means for ACORN Canada — as well as read their full response to the release of the 2021 Budget — check out their posting here.
As New Delhi prepares for another lockdown, street vendors and informal works are often the ones who pay the highest price.
Dharmendra Kumar, member of the Delhi chapter of Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee, an ACORN affiliate, recently spoke about the lack of adequate medical supplies:
This shortage is across the city and predictably the marginalised groups are the most affected. As far as street vendors are concerned, with most of them being migrants, there are not many people here whom they can approach for assistance – especially in today’s time when even the well-off groups are finding themselves helpless.
Kumar was also quoted as urging the Modi government to provide a one-time cash assistance to workers who are hardest hit by the pandemic.
To support the Hawker’s Joint Action Committee, check out the link below to donate.
From Glasgow Live:
Community activists are currently occupying land in Maryhill earmarked for sale by Glasgow City Council.
The derelict land on Collina Street, known locally as ‘The Valley’, was used as the main location in Still Game but has now become the centre of an ongoing dispute.
Campaigners have set up a wooden hut with one volunteer at a time taking turns to occupy the land. They plan on maintaining a presence on the site until the council stops the sale and engages with locals.
A temporary extension to the sale has been granted due to the pandemic to allow offers of interest to be submitted. The site is currently being marketed for 125 units of low-cost homeownership.
But locals are considering a community buyout over concerns that the social housing needs of the community are being ignored in favour of selling to private landlords.
Living Rent member and Wyndford Tenants Union committee member Norman Cunningham accused the council of failing to speak with the community about the plans before the original sale deadline.
He says he community have developed their own vision and solutions for how the piece of land could be used for a ‘sustainable, environmentally-friendly, community housing development’.
He told Glasgow Live : “We decided to occupy the land and then the next day the sale was postponed – but we only found out through the media. We decided we would still go ahead with the occupation because they never communicated with us about what was going on.
“We’ve set up a wooden hut called Boabby’s Bothy where one person can sit in at all times. We won’t stop until they sit down and talk to us. So far, the council has failed to respond to our attempts to meet with them and have continued to gaslight us.”
The sale of the land is part of the Maryhill Transformational Regeneration Area which Mr Cunningham has been described as ‘no longer fit for purpose’.
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The Collina Street site will deliver 125 new low-cost home ownership properties in Maryhill, homes that will complement the wide range of affordable housing already built – and to be built – in the area.
“The low-cost home ownership properties cannot be sold to private landlords as there is strict assessment criteria for the purchaser and unless they meet this criteria (first-time buyer, income threshold and so on) they will not be permitted to purchase. When completed, most of the homes in the Maryhill Transformational Regeneration Area will be in the socially-rented sector, underlining the reality that affordable homes will be a feature of the entire regeneration area in Maryhill, and providing low-cost home ownership offers a choice for those who prefer to buy.
“The wider project will transform the quality of housing in this part of the area, and it should be noted that this is a community-led masterplan that includes mixed tenure projects across a number of sites. That master plan is supported by the local housing association.”
The Still Game for The Valley group will be holding a public meeting at 6.30pm this evening to discuss the campaign and proposals for the Community Right to Buy.
To join the meeting, click here.