Out of the growing concern around precarious housing, displacement of local residents, evictions and skyrocketing rent, LAHAAG was initiated in 2018 in South Etobicoke (Lakeshore, Toronto City Ward 3). LAHAAG is a group led by community residents and includes community agencies interested in improving affordable housing outcomes by engaging in community development work. The working group is a 100% volunteer-run initiative and includes members who are invested in the creation of deeply affordable housing and the prevention of eviction and displacement of long-term residents and other community members.
Since its inception LAHAAG has advocated, collaborated and engaged the community in topics around affordable housing. Some of the key issues raised by community members are evictions, overcrowding, state of repair, affordability, and community displacement.
Collaboration, partnership development and bringing key stakeholders together in our community has been our strength throughout these last few years. However, the pandemic has stalled our community-based groundswell support because we could not host our regular monthly in-person residents meetings for the last 21-months. Our resident-led working group includes renters in precarious housing, low-income workers and seniors on fixed incomes. Agencies include LAMP Community Health Centre, Humber College, South Etobicoke Legal Services, Mainstay Housing and The Neighbourhood Group. We have engaged all three levels of government to voice our concerns and to try and affect key policy decisions in our community for positive long-term changes. We have made presentations to developers and planners regarding the need for deeply affordable housing. For immediate changes, we have focused on capacity building and knowledge mobilization for residents to be equipped with the information they need as housing issues arise.