Progress at Alma Blackwell

A few days ago, I wrote about the problems residents were having at the Alma Blackwell housing site on Adanac Street which the Entre Nous Femmes Housing Society (ENF) wants to demolish and rebuild. Today I am happy to report that the tenants’ loud voices, including at the community meeting held last week, have elicited a hopeful statement from ENF.

In their notice to the tenants, ENF note their organization has undergone organizational changes at both the Board and staff levels but that they are committed to “continuing the legacy of providing inclusive, safe, and affordable housing for women, families, and seniors at Alma Blackwell,” and they understand that “the news of the redevelopment was challenging to receive.”

They note that ENF have not yet made a formal development application to the City and thus “tenants will not need to move until Fall 2022 at the earliest.” They further commit to hiring a Tenant Relocation specialist “to ensure a smooth transition for each tenant.”

“In the meantime, we will be continuing to offer relocation options to tenants in our own portfolio when these opportunities arise. We encourage tenants to accept relocation opportunities that suit their needs when they become available – these offers are optional, and all tenants may choose to remain at Alma Blackwell until the end of the Four Month Notice to End Tenancy if they wish to do so. We are not permitted to issue tenants a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy until our Development and Building Permits are approved by the City, and the City will not approve these permits until we meet the requirements of the [City’s] Tenant Relocation Protection Policy (TRPP), including finding alternative accommodation for all eligible tenants.”

They anticipate holding a Tenants’ Meeting as soon as they have the TRPP specialist in place in order to discuss further details.

So, it looks as though the concerned tenants have some breathing room at least, and perhaps have time to persuade ENF that demolition of the current building is not the best solution. Just as important, ENF is now very aware, if they were not before, that both the tenants and the community as a whole will be watching developments with a keen interest.

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