We now have 572 signatures on our petition https://chng.it/JYgGFdtSRs
We have a Save Alma Blackwell (DRAFT) document outlining the communications, conduct and issues https://www.dropbox.com/s/n175wb5kf172fwx/Help%20Save%20Alma%20Blackwell%20DRAFT.pdf?dl=0
We have learned that the property manager has shared with some tenants that she has “someone reporting to her”, a mole if you will, and that she attended the September13th GWAC meeting.
On September 15th, we received the attached letter from ENFHS Board Chair, Francesca Sorace (via the AB Property Manager) stating that:“The Board of Directors of Entre Nous Femmes Housing Society would like to announce the departure of its Executive Director, Lisa Clement effective October 1, 2021.”
Since the beginning of my tenancy 18+ years ago, we have never had direct access to the ENFHS board of directors so I took the liberty to find Francesca on linkedin with the following message: “My name is Linsea O’Shea and I have been a resident of Alma Blackwell since July 1st, 2003. I am writing to you today, on behalf of many tenants of AB, to request a meeting with you and/or the Board of Directors regarding the demolition of the building as well as the conduct and behaviours we have incurred over the years from ENFHS personnel. We would welcome our voices to be heard, for the very first time in decades, and we would welcome transparency from a representative of ENFHS which is also something we have not experienced in decades.” Twelve days later I received the following from the board email address:“Thank you for your heartfelt message. Please know that the members of the Entre Nous Femmes (ENF) board have read your message and want to thank you for reaching out. We appreciate that you would like to meet with the board. ENFHS will reach out in the coming weeks to provide a new date for the tenant meeting. By having one meeting with all tenants, we will ensure clear and meaningful information is communicated to all tenants of Alma Blackwell at the same time. In regards to conduct and behaviours from ENFHS personnel, the board would very much like to hear directly from you. Please provide a description of your experiences by email. Kindly continue to share your thoughts and concerns via email as it provides a way for all board members to be informed of information shared with the board. Kindly continue to share your thoughts and concerns via email as it provides a way for all board members to be informed of information shared with the board.” On October 2nd, I responded with:“For what it is worth, and just to be clear, my message was not heartfelt – it was frustrated – and I did not send via email platform. I would appreciate an in-person meeting so I can see whom it is that I’m speaking with – which will ensure clear, meaningful and and trust-driven communication. How else can I know that the board is actually reading/reviewing these emails? How is it that you do not know of the questionable and abusive conduct I have withstood over the years from ENFHS personnel? Why is it that tenants are blocked from being members of the society? Let’s start there.” I have not heard anything back to date.
On September 17th, the Save Alma Blackwell committee virtually met with Neil Monckton, plus Alex Chan and Alvin Singh. After hearing from a few of us on the issues/matters at hand, he stated that he would coordinate a meeting with our group and Mayor Kennedy. During our email thread update, Neil stated that:“We have spoken to Minister Eby’s office and staff at BC Housing over the past week. We reaffirmed your request to meet with the Minister and staff told me they were aware of the concerns being raised. Let me know if you don’t hear back from them. BC Housing is also aware of the concerns being raised and we will continue to keep in touch with them. We have also spoken to the City Manager’s office and to the Planning staff who have responsibility for development applications. Right now, nothing has been filed with the City so there is no pending action from staff.” I keep bringing the email thread back to the top so our group can be heard by the Mayor.
On September 22nd, a UBC report came out finding that Vancouver has the highest eviction rates in the country and Global News came to Alma Blackwell and interviewed single-mother resident, Rhiannon Latimer, about the report and about being demovicted. https://globalnews.ca/video/8214220/bc-renters-faced-with-highest-eviction-rates-in-canada-report?fbclid=IwAR3b0dZySnNwbLkZk3_mVAooGgrSVy4KztoGVklWwDk2YzY0c8D3Nx_onNA#autoplay
On September 29th, the Daily Hive posted an article on how Canadian renters are losing $769 more per month than homeowners. https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/canadian-homeowners-paying-less-than-renters?fbclid=IwAR2S3qHwm7XVcqNLR3cythrpW3J6hwQz07wd0SkpR1iX8NmWPKA3H_ZPy48
A majority of residents will not be able to return due to new and pending income parameters set by ENFHS and their new relationship with BC Housing. These new terms breach our current tenancy agreements. Those that can afford to move, have left, leaving residents facing an uncertain housing future for vulnerable people in a challenging rental market.
Although it seems that the property manager has stopped her efforts in rehousing tenants, we have lost another tenant and we now have 15 empty suites (which still begs the question about the empty home tax). The property manager is now difficult to approach, is quite defensive and launching into big spiels about how they’re “not forcing anyone to move right now” and “we understand this is stressful” blah blah blah and telling tenants that they could “end up homeless if they stay to the bitter end”. She told one tenant that if she is offered an alternative place to live that she should take it because she “can’t guarantee she can offer another one and that wouldn’t be a good idea because she wouldn’t want the bailiffs to have to remove her”.
One couple that moved asked for the compensation (of one month rent and moving costs) and were told that “ENF never asked anyone to move out or were forced to do it”.
On October 7th, I recieved the attached email from Jenny Kwan with this message “The concerns that you have raised with regard to tenant concerns, as well as the funding of the redevelopment of the building, rest within provincial government jurisdiction. I have taken the liberty of writing to BC’s Minister responsible for Housing, David Eby, and BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay, to inform them of your concerns and requested that they follow up with you directly.”
As of today’s date, October 17th, I am waiting to hear from the CoV Chief of Staff, Neil Monckton, for the promised meeting with the Mayor. When Emad Agahi came to interview Rhiannon for the news hour piece, he indicated that he would like to return and interview more of our neighbours. I have people lined up and ready to go!
I have been trying to get usage of our common room, vicious raccoons relocated, the recycling moved to outside our fence due to an ongoing trespasser uttering threats to tenants, screens on some our windows replaced due to insect infestation and adequate lighting in our courtyard. Some of these ongoing maintenance requests go back as far as January, and it is clear to me that the property manager / ENFHS refuses to put any monies toward this site, in spite of the fact that 95% of us still living here are not subsidized and are paying rent.