Hamilton politicians want to ensure they are not contributing to the eviction of tenants as apartment buildings are renovated.
Members of the general issues committee voted on Monday to investigate any necessary changes to a variety of grant programs that would ensure landlords and developers are not using city funds to pay for property improvements as a means of raising rents and evicting people from their homes.
Ward 3 Coun. Nrinder Nann presented the motion in response to stories of vulnerable tenants who are “pressured to take buyouts to vacate their apartments,” leaving them homeless or forcing them to relocate to another city.
“We absolutely welcome investment, but not if it’s going to displace our tenants and residents via the practice of renoviction,” Nann said.
Jason Thorne, Hamilton’s general manager of planning and economic development, says he’s not aware of the city being a party to any forced relocations, but he agrees that “the potential does exist” and that that’s what Nann’s motion hopes to address.
Hamilton ACORN, an organization that advocates for low- to moderate-income earners, rallied at city hall prior to Monday’s meeting in support of the motion.
Spokesman Mike Wood says it is an important step in the right direction, adding: “Revitalization of our neighbourhoods shouldn’t mean displacing the people that live here.”