What Does Your Dining Room Table Mean to You?

We have three new tenants moving into 144 and I hope to share their stories with you through our newsletters and videos.  One is coming directly to us from a shelter, a veteran who found himself homeless after 71 years.  The second new tenant was recently widowed and could not afford his rent, and has been couch surfing for months, and our third is a woman whose CPP/OAS combined are less than the rent she was expected to pay for her apartment in Cambridge.

As rents increase in our community, they are often outpacing incomes, forcing people into homeless.  Seniors, fragile elderly people, often with no support system whatsoever, falling through the many cracks in our very fractured housing system. Neither CPP nor ODSP have kept pace with the cost of living, and as a landlord I would find it enormously difficult to have to tell an 80-year-old he must choose between eating or paying rent. Affordable housing is a very large part of the answer.

I recently wrote about showing our available bachelor units to three different women, each of whom cried as they stood in the centre of the room.  “Where will I put my dining room table…?” came out of each of their mouths.  For so many of us, the table is where the family gathered for meals, the place to celebrate holidays and events, a place where memories were made – and most recently, the place where many of us work.

As I wrote that piece, sitting at my own dining room table I had a light bulb moment.  One of the spaces being renovated at 144 Erb Street East is a room we will use as an office when staff need somewhere to meet with a tenant or other support person. We will turn the space into a dining room, replete with all that is needed to host a dinner!! Tenants will be able to ‘book’ the dining room to host their family for meals, and staff will still be able to use it as a workspace when needed.  I look forward to sharing pictures with you as we renovate.