Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)

To Whom This May Concern:

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to submit my story on behalf of an organization that I believe deserves your support.

I have multiple physical and mental disabilities and I was a former client of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA). CERA provides free legal information and advocacy supports to Ontario renters who face eviction and/or human rights issues in rental housing. I worked with CERA for a 5-month period in 2018.

At the time of our first conversation, I was over-housed in a three-bedroom townhouse since my three children had moved out, and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) was transferring me to a senior’s unit. When you are transferring units, you get three choices in the process. I had already turned down one unit, and the current unit that I was being offered had a cockroach and bedbug infestation, which I was unaware of when I signed the lease. Nevertheless, I was worried about turning it down with only having one more chance to get a unit, so I wanted to ensure that the infestation and the other issues with the unit were properly resolved.

CERA dedicated much of their time and energy to ensuring that I received the appropriate disability accommodations (e.g., repairs) in my new unit. For example, I had a fridge and sink that were much too low, and there were cracks in the floors and in the door hinges. The process of working with TCHC on my own to request accommodations and the ongoing process of requesting repairs were negatively impacting my anxiety.

CERA reviewed my doctor's letter and, then, called my housing worker who was working with me to discuss the accommodations that I would need prior to living in my new unit and during the move.

These accommodations included the following:

  1. Adequate time to move because I needed more than the standard period

  2. Help from TCHC to pack and move my belongings because I was unable to do this myself due to my disabilities

  3. Ensuring TCHC would make all the necessary repairs and that the unit I was transferred to was pest free before I moved in.

Ultimately, CERA sent an advocacy letter to a TCHC manager. They approved the extended move-in date as well as the other accommodations that I requested through CERA.

Again, I cannot tell you how grateful my family and I are to CERA. I endured many struggles and hardships during that period of time, but CERA supported me a great deal. To this day, my daughters and I appreciate CERA very much.

In light of the significant impact that CERA has made in my life, I would, no doubt, love to see Lerners LLP make a generous donation to CERA.



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