My memory of the meeting is fresh. The head of the review, Patrick LeSage, told the crowd of more than 100 people that he, too, was a senior and that seniors were, by definition, vulnerable.
I wish Al Gosling could have been there to hear those words. The sad truth is that Al, who was evicted at age 82, had a friend who fought for months to get his eviction reversed. The Toronto Community Housing Corp. wasn't listening.
They're listening now.
The speakers' list held more than 50 names. As the evening wore on, a woman I know slipped me an envelope as she made her way out the door. She whispered that she had planned to address the judge but she couldn't stay late.
The envelope held two copies of a letter. The woman said one copy was for the judge, and one was for me. I remind you I am not allowed to report on what was said during those meetings.
But I gave one copy of the letter to the judge, and you might like to read it, too, in the light of TCHC's so-called eviction prevention policy.
The letter is dated Dec. 23, 2009.
And here I wish a belated Merry Christmas to the cold-hearted jerk who pulled that letter from the printer.
The letter was received Dec. 29, 2009. And here I wish a belated Happy New Year to the bloodless functionary who threw that letter in the mail.
Here is the first sentence:
"As of December 23, 2009, your balance is $8.00."
You have that figure firmly in mind? Brace yourselves for the rest of it:
"You were recently served with a Notice to Terminate because you did not pay your rent. It is important that you understand that by not paying your rent, you risk losing your housing.
"If your balance is not paid in full, Toronto Community Housing will apply to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal for a hearing."
There is no Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal and has not been for a couple of years now. There is, however, a Landlord and Tenant Board.
Perhaps TCHC is unaware.
Perhaps someone should tell them.
The $8 letter continues:
"This hearing will determine whether or not you will lose your housing.
"A fee charged by the Tribunal of $170.00 will be charged to your account for this application. In addition, should your outstanding balance lead to an eviction being filed, a Sheriff's filling fee (sic) of $315.00 will be charged to your account."
The person who composed this letter seems not to know the difference between a "filling fee" and a "filing fee."
As for those additional charges, I think TCHC must have another policy:
No Wound Left Unsalted.
The letter advises the person to make the payment at a bank. Or, if payment has been made, to call and to "make sure you have any information regarding the payment available for staff when you call. This includes payment date, confirmation numbers, the name of your bank, and the type and amount of payment made.
"You may also want to consider contacting your local Legal Clinic for assistance or confidential advice about this notice.
"Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter."
The letter is unsigned.
An unsigned letter is an act of cowardice. The threat of eviction for a measly eight bucks is sadism.
And it puts the lie to TCHC's so-called policy of eviction prevention.
Joe Fiorito usually appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.