Friday, March 20, 2009

Elevators and Hazel

A short blog!

The #2 door Elevator is working!!!

Hazel was operated on today. They gave her a spinal so she watched the entire procedure. Gutsy Lady!! Now she is frothing at the bit to get back home. A tad premature to be sure. But with a positive attitude like that I am sure it will be sooner than any of us think. Hats off to you Hazel!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Elevators and Mail boxes

It's been one hectic and upsetting day. The very first thing I did this morning was answer an S.O.S. call from my best friend, Hazel. She had, as she told me, "fallen and I can't get up." She was certain that she had broken her hip. I called an ambulance and went up to see her. Tough Newfie! And with her sense of humour in tact even if her leg wasn't!

The paramedics made it in what must be record time! And that in spite of running into the useless elevator at door #2. Hats off to those guys!! Fortunately too, they ran into our Maintenance crew who brought them over and made sure the elevator at door 4 was available. But the gurney does not fit so the paramedics put her in a wheel chair and one steadied her broken leg while the other pushed the chair.

The elevators have been down for over a week. Marion assures me that the company has been called several times. I called OHC and find out that the elevator company does not keep spare parts in Ottawa! And I am left to think that this elevator company, that somehow stays in business in spite of leaving their clients without elevators because they do not keep spare parts available, also do not have the capacity to order or have never heard of airplanes because it appears the part(s) is coming via slow boat to China. (That is what my English teacher would call a run on sentence but I want to make sure you do not miss the point even a little bit.) This is one thing that I hear being blamed on OHC but it is Not OHC's fault.

An efficient service company would have spare parts for most possible troubles. An efficient company would definitely have spare parts for an elevator that is as old as this one and that has had other relatively recent problems. An efficient company would have a plan B should they find themselves without a required part - you know like putting it on a plane to get it here asap. An efficient company would be trying even harder to hang on to the clients they have now that we are in the midst of a fairly severe recession. They don't really know, after all, that when this crunch is over, that OHC or any other company who received such scandalously bad service, will stick with them. In all my 40 plus years of working for service oriented companies, I never worked for one with such as lousy attitude. In one week I get to be at the receiving end of two - the alarm checking company and now the elevator company. Unbelievable!!

Because of this 'couldn't care less' attitude we have all been inconvenienced, especially those on the fifth floor and my.... Our .... friend, Hazel, who was left to experience more pain than she normally would have because of them. Also Unbelievable!!

I am told, yet again, that they will be back in the morning and it will be fixed. I certainly hope so.

Mail Boxes

A number of the mail boxes have doors that are broken - some are even about to fall off. They have been that way for weeks. A letter to Housing and, guess what? You guys did not report the broken mail boxes to anyone. Said it before and I will say it again. Ottawa Housing is not a psychic organization. If you do not tell them, they do not know. Do not assume that just because something is broken, that someone else reported it. Report it! If it is something visible, take a picture of it! If you do not have a camera, come and tell me and I will take a picture of it and send it off. Try and remember that there are something like 200 buildings run by Ottawa Housing. They are not omnipotent. They are not psychic. So tell them. So what if someone else called it in. Better to hear from two or more than from no one.

Anyway, for the moment, the mail boxes that are broken have been reported and the Post Office will be out to fix them. Should any more get broken, call OHC. They'll call the Post Office. If they have been broken into, call the police and OHC. Stealing mail is a Federal Offence covered by the Criminal Code of Canada. Remember - If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

I have kitty cat sitting duties in the morning so I'll leave it there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bits and Pieces - The Sequel!


Total Fire Protection was here all day today and not one alarm! Someone must have gotten the message. Now here's hoping it carries over to next year. :o)

Time to Start Thinking about:

Spring Clean Up.

Last fall when I spoke to JoAnne Poirier about fall clean up we were a bit late out of the gate. So I thought I would mention it earlier for spring. In the fall, Ms. Poirier indicated that Housing would be happy to help so if you are a tenant reading this, maybe start thinking about if you are able to help. It should be a pretty fast job if we can scare up enough people to help. This year we do not have Marcel to run around picking up after us so it is even more important that we pick up the slack. It's our home!! For now, it is still at the think about it stage. Once I know for sure, I will put a notice on the board. I know! Some small pea brained person keeps clearing off the board. Hang in there. There are people setting up, what I am told is a sure fire way to catch them. Can't tell you more than that. I do not know more than that. I do know that the plan is to not say anything when the evidence is in hand- just to turn evidence over to Housing's CEO. So hang in there - I'll get the word out to you one way or another.

Dog Owners

There are quite a few of us here. It is imperative that you pick up after your dog! If they are worth having, they are worth cleaning up after. Take any plastic bag you want with you, turn it inside out over your hand like a glove and pick it up. Then toss it in a garbage bin. That is the classy thing to do. It is also the rules Housing gave us for owning a dog - that we clean up after them.

Elevators and Intercoms

Last week the elevator at Door #2 broke down. The elevator repair men had it working again for a few hours but it is down again.

The Intercoms are still out. I did write to Marion and asked her to make her best effort to get them fixed.

On a brighter note -

Have you noticed there is less willful damage being done around the building!

And it is quietier!

And the security fellows are about more often!

And don't forget-

Saturday breakfast - available until 11:30 a.m. and

Sunday Bingo staring at 1:00p.m.

both held in the Lounge at 2100 Russell Road.

Everybody is welcome!

I have a new quote for my email signature. What do you think?

Them That Can, Do!
Them That Can't, Bully!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Ongoing Saga of the Fire Alarms

"Bullying consists of the least competent, most aggressive service supplier projecting their incompetence on to the least aggressive most, vulnerable client and winning."
an adaptation of a Tim Field quote

Hours of being forced to listen to fire alarms is a form of bullying by a service supplier, The Landlord and, in this case, The City of Ottawa. Let us put an end to this wholesale bullying!

Hi Everyone!

Today, and possibly again tomorrow we will have these blankety-blank fire alarms ringing again.I spent the morning on the phone listening to complaints and calling around trying to find out why we have been picked to be harassed and annoyed again and so soon after the last time Total Fire Prevention came in here with their checks in January. The bottom line is I get smoke and mirror shows from everyone and no legitimate answers from anyone.

It is a fact that the law says fire alarms must be checked regularly. I have no problem with that law at all. I also think the equipment to keep us secure should be in good and working order. My complaint, and of other tenants here, is not the law that says they must be checked but the manner in which Total Fire Prevention conducts these checks. For those who missed it, the fire alarms ring constantly for upwards of 6 hours. That is, when they check the alarm in my apartment, the entire building is rewarded with hearing alarms both in the halls and in their apartments.And the same is true for all 200+ apartments. That is a lot of fire alarm listening.

On January 26, 2009 I received the following letter from Michael Daigle of the Ottawa Fire Department.

This is not a requirement of the City of Ottawa or Ottawa Fire Services. This is the requirements of Provincial Law. The Ontario Fire Code, the Regulation of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, and available at requires that the fire alarm system meet the requirements of Can/ULC-S536. This requires that the fire alarm system bells to be checked monthly and the fire alarm system to be inspected annually.

SECTION 6.3 FIRE ALARM AND VOICE COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS FOR LIFE SAFETY (1) Except as provided in Sentence (2), a fire alarm system, with or without voice communication capability, shall be inspected and tested in conformance with CAN/ULC-S536, “Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems”.

(2) Despite Clause of CAN/ULC-S536, “Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems”, a UL listed smoke detector sensitivity instrument may be used to conduct annual sensitivity testing of smoke detectors.

(3) A description of the fire alarm system as required in Clause 3.6 of CAN/ULC-S536, “Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems”, shall be kept current and maintained in the building at an approved location.

(4) A record of each device, component and circuit of the fire alarm system that is inspected and tested in accordance with Sentence (1) shall

(a) indicate whether the device, component or circuit is in proper working order, and

(b) be kept in accordance with Article

(5) Where a fire alarm system is monitored to transmit a signal to the fire department, the owner shall record whether all signals from the tests conducted in Sentence (1), or other events, are received by the monitoring station, and records shall be kept in accordance with Article

Thank you for the question.

Michael Daigle
Acting Division Chief - Prevention
Ottawa Fire Services
1445 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario, K1Z 7L9
(613) 580-2424 ext 29460
Fax (613) 580-2866

I have read this letter and this Act several times. Nowhere, that I can find, does it give anyone the okay to torment, harass,or cause mental distress to anyone, ever. And that, to all those with the smoke and mirrors, is what I am talking about.

A trip to the Law Library would undoubtedly supply me some precedents either criminally or civilly, probably both. Should there not be a precedent, then I feel quite confident that any reasonable man would consider hours of fire alarms screaming in their ears a form of harassment, extreme mental distress and just plain torture of the type we do not allow our services to use against enemies in times of war. It is highly unlikely that our legal leaders would approve of it on home ground in peace times against our own people. Particularly if it turned out to have more to do with some Corporation's bottom line, as is presently my opinion. So far no one anywhere, not Total Fire Protection, not The City of Ottawa, not Ottawa Housing - has told me anything that would lead me to believe anything else. Just their Smoke and Mirrors!

It would behoove the powers-that-be to remember that tenants are people, not numbers in a ledger. Many in this building are senior. Many are physically disabled. Some are mentally disabled. Some work all night and need to sleep during the day. Some are new Canadians and this is definitely not a way to teach new comers how we treat our low income earning people or pensioners or how to be a good citizen. Not even trying to address this problem is nothing short of selfish and would not be happening, I am quite sure, if we were the powers-to-be or their loved ones.

So What Do We Do?

Well, I have already made a bunch of calls. I have also written a letter, a copy of which is on the bulletin board. If it disappears, another copy is easy enough to come up with. The rest of you tenants can get on the phone and complain about being treated like a guinea pig for Total Fire's new equipment or inexperienced staff or what ever their problem is. You could point out that discrimination is against the law in this country and what they are doing to us with these alarms is absolutely not what they would do to tenants in high rental buildings or that they would tolerate being done to any of their own family members. That makes it discriminatory.

You all know the numbers but here they are again:
Total Fire Protection 613- 288-0073
Councillor Peter Hume 613-580-2488
Ottawa Housing Corporation 613-249-0458

Can you write? Send a letter. Keep it civil but firm. Send it to any of the above. Send it to The Citizen's Letters to the Editor column.

Remember that numbers are power so do not avoid calling just because you know someone else called. And Remember, The Squeaky Wheel is the one that gets the oil, so Be a Squeaky Wheel!

Shame on you Total Fire Protection!
Shame on you City of Ottawa!
Shame on you Ottawa Housing Corporation!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Friday, the Thirteenth

Many people believe that the fear of Friday the 13th is called triskaidekaphobia. It turns out that triskaidekaphobia is actually a fear of the number 13. A fear of Friday the 13th is more correctly known as paraskavedekatriaphobia. The word paraskavedekatriaphobia comes from the Greek words Paraskeví meaning "friday," dekatreís meaning "thirteenth," and phobia, meaning something like "moron."
If you ever figure out how to pronounce it, let me know! :o) Think how much fun you can have just walking up to others and saying, "Hi. Have you heard about that virus that's making the rounds - you know, paraskavedekatriaphobia?" They might not know what you are talking about but they are really going to think you are one smart dude to know words like that. Must be 10 or more syllables long!

Well, on to more pressing things!

Tuesday's General Meeting

Florence and Al attended the General Meeting earlier this week. We sure could use more tenants coming out to them. They do not happen that often and if you have a problem or an idea for the building, this is the place to share it and possibly get something done about it.

Gossip - also called Tongue Wagging.

I have my own idea about nasty, malicious gossipers. I think that they do it to keep you thinking about someone else so you do not see their faults and flaws. I can only guess that some who do a lot of this must have some huge problems of their own. But entire books have been written on the subject and I am not going to write another here. I will say, if someone is gossiping and spreading dirt about you, try ignoring it. People like that often get a charge out of your reaction, so do not give them one. And do not lower yourself to their level by doing the same thing to them. If it keeps up and is particularly malicious, there is a law in the Criminal Code of Canada and the sentence is jail time. But between the ignoring it and the going to court, you might want to talk to Donna at Options Bytown (613-523-2952) or to someone at OHC to see if there is not something that can be done to put it to rest without spending money and time on lawyers and courts.

The Phone Bill

The Club or the T.A. might just be a small group of tenants trying to make their lives more interesting, but every time they buy a product or a service, they are doing business. There are things that are expected over and above the chosing and paying for something. The use of a phone is a contractual agreement. It was entered into with a devil may care attitude. The Club and now the TA have changed hands but the contract came with them. It seems to me, having listened to the tenants discuss this bill, that everyone is still not looking at it as a business transaction. The discussion should not have been, "Who is to blame?" but "How do we solve the problem?" It is business and it must be dealt with in a businesslike manner. I will do my best to get a resolution to this bill but, I think, more thought and care and business attitude must be used with future purchases, particularly ones that involve contract signing.

A Tenant's Association is here for the good of all the tenants. It is not here for any particular person's ego. Our present T.A. has done some really good things for the building and the tenants, particularly in the area of social get togethers. They offer Bingo, Bean Bags, Darts and a fabulous Saturday morning breakfast - all at reasonable prices. There are also impromptu things like musical get togethers. If you have an idea of your own, speak to the President, Dorothy so you can arrange times when the Lounge is not already booked. With summer fast approaching, I know there will be summery things going on like BBQs and etc. If you have not checked them out, you really should. Watch the Bulletin Boards and/or the walls at the elevators for the flyers telling you what, where and when.

Those are most of the things discussed a the General Meeting. So on to other things.


We are still waiting for the new boards. I asked Marion if she could use her charms and powers of persuasion to try to speed up the company contracted to do this. Until they are fixed however, it might be a good idea to have your visitors call before they come so you can let them in if you know your buzzer does not work.


The elevator at door 2 is not working. That company has been called and parts ordered. Hopefully that will be fixed soon also. In the meantime, the elevator at door 1 and that at door 4 are working. If all else fails, the stairs always work!
4:30 p.m. The gents from the elevator company just this minute loaded up their truck after fixing the elevator! It Works! Il travail! :o)


If it is small enough to go down the shoot, tie it up properly and put it down the shoot! If it is too big for the shoot, take it down to the first floor garbage room across from the Maintenance Room. If it is furniture, take it out back of the Garbage room or take it to the road for pickup. Do not leave it for days on end in the hall ways. That is just common courtesy for your neighbours. It is not rocket science! And if the seniors here can take out their garbage, the rest of you can too! Ottawa Housing does not have a maid service for you. It is not in any lease here. Those of you who leave your garbage for others to clean up ought to be ashamed of yourselves! So get your sweet pink, (black, brown, yellow or whatever colour your duff comes in) Canadian duff into gear and take your garbage out!

Recession getting you down? Chipper up your day with a freebie of........well, something - they put something new up every day. Might be shampoo. Might be baby diapers. Might be shaving cream. Might be anything.
Free Canada samples

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Odds and Sods!

Good Morning!

Another nice day where I can keep my balcony door open a bit to let in some fresh air. Spring is on the way! Let's have a celebration! Oh! There is already a celebration planned! St. Patrick's Day is also almost here so all those of Irish Decent, and everybody else who likes to eat and dance and pretend they are Irish for a day and are from this building are invited to the St. Patrick's party in the lounge on March 14th. Starts at 7:00 p.m. Prize for the person wearing the most green! Residents admitted for free. Non residents - $5.00 per person.

General Meeting for all tenants at 2100

There is a General Meeting at 2100 Russell Road tonight at 7:00 p.m. It is in the Lounge. This is your chance to speak out on issues that affect you living in this building. So if you have any building related problems to air, Ottawa Housing will be there and you can bring those issues up to them. It is not to spread gossip or to back bite. Ottawa Housing is trying. You have to show some interest too so please come.

About Rogers - Phones, Cable, In-house Cameras and Internet

Yesterday I had a visitor with a problem that was about Rogers. I mentioned a variety of little problems I have heard about with Rogers to Florence Brake at Ottawa Housing and she suggested they bring someone from Rogers to talk to you and answer questions you might have about their services. Are you tenants interested? Drop me a line at

and let me know. I think we could all let them know that we are none to thrilled with the way they have machines that do not think answering their phones. A simple problem that should take 5 minutes often takes over an hour of being transferred around the Rogers offices. Rogers is not the only outfit that does this but we can and should complain when we are lucky enough to have their human ears here listening. You never know an outcome until you try!

Saturday's Trip

2080 had a sign up for their shopping and dinner trip. Only 2 people from 2100 were on the bus and I was one of them. Those of us with walkers had lots of help getting on and off the bus. There are a couple of real gentlemen at 2080! Thanks John and David!

We went to the new WalMart on Terminal Ave, but, there are a lot of shops besides WalMart at that mall. I checked out the Dollarama - not as good as the one at Herongate but a lot better than the one at Elmvale. Not all items were $1.00 so if you go there and are watching your pennies, you might want to make sure there is not a bigger price tag than you are expecting. Still is a pretty good deal for most things. I got some of those silicone cooking utensils for $1.25 for a set of 2 spatulas. The same spatulas in some of the bigger stores are going for $5.98. Then I tripped across to Bowrings of Newfoundland. A bit pricey for someone on a pension but they had a pretty decent sale so I got a very nice frame to put a picture of my daughter in for half price. Ah! Some people are just worth a few extra bucks and for me, she is one of them.

Met everyone back at Walmart where a lot of them spent their time and then we were whisked off to Lorenzo's for dinner. Really a decent feed of roast beef for me from the buffet. It was not an easy choice - the linguini looked pretty good too and Montreal Smoked Meat was also tempting. BUT - I had no trouble deciding on a desert. Cherry Cheesecake! And it was "To Die For"!

Well, Time for a walk - cheesecake sort of hangs around my waist if I don't walk it off!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It Sure Helps to Know How Things Work!

I'm not sure about you but I know that March is out to get me! Warm one
day; cold the next! My poor nose has been running it's very own marathon.
My computer says 'freezing rain' for Friday. Whaaaaaaaaaaaa!

So here is something you can do on your computer to make the time pass
faster. Go on a South African Safari. There are 2 drives and a walking safari each day. Check their schedule. Then convert the times to Eastern Canadian. It is seven hours later in South Africa if you are in Ontario. There is a Drive at about 10:30 p.m. our time. Turn on the sound and click the little arrow in the corner of the viewing screen - that makes the screen bigger. Sit up and watch for elephants, leopards and other animals as the guide drives you through the Sabi Game Reserve. It's live - a new and different show every day!
Here is the URL:

While you are waiting, here is a bit of 2100 news.
We got Mr. YoungerNoMore's problem with the dates straightened out. Shaun
and Florence from Housing came here to explain it. This applies to everyone
here but it is perhaps more confusing to the seniors among us as they used
to be on a different system. That system changed when the Social Housing
Reform Act (Bill 128)
came into effect in 2000.

Under the old system, the seniors had rent reviews once a year and their
rent for that year was determined on or about the anniversary of their
move-in (renewal date). Under the new system, rents for all tenants living in a subsidized unit are reviewed whenever your income changes. If you are on a pension and you
get a cost of living raise, it is the tenant’s responsibility to inform Ottawa Community Housing of that change. If you work and your employer gives you a raise, it is your responsibility to report that also. Rent's here, as you know, are based solely on your income.

If you get a raise - either cost of living from your pension plan or a
raise in salary, that and that alone determines your rent. Most of us will
only see one raise in rent per year but if you work and are a really good
worker and you get promoted with a raise twice in a single year, your rent
will go up twice. If your raise is less than $10.00, it is unlikely that
your rent will change before your renewal date. If it is more than $10.00,
Ottawa Community Housing will use a percentage of your income to raise rent
within 31 days. Most everyone on pension or social assistance pays less
than Market Value for the apartments here so we still have a really good
deal. And rent is one of the most important expenses we have and it is,
after all, a true cost of living expense.

Now if you do not report it until your renewal date, you risk being hit
with a larger amount so that Ottawa Community Housing can get you caught
up. So if the anniversary of your arrival is, for example, July 1. And if,
for example, you get a cost of living raise on your pension in February 1,
you have a month in which to notify Housing who will recalculate your rent
if the amount of the raise is over $10.00. Then you will receive a notice
from Housing letting you know what your new rental amount is. If you do not
tell them until the renewal date, you will still get a notice of rent
change and it will go back to when the change occurred. That can be a huge
bother to say nothing about the mess it can leave your finances in.

Here is a very common misconception:
Ottawa Community Housing knows when the Government raises the Old Age Pension, the O.D.S.P. pension and the Ontario Works Benefits. It does not! Furthermore, not everyone on Pension plans gets the same thing. The amount of CPP depends on what a person
contributed to that fund when they were working. O.D.S.P. pensions depend on what is wrong with you and whether you get extra for supplements etc. Some people get private pensions they paid into at the company they worked for; others don't. Some saw combat duty; others didn't. And on and on it goes.

Speaking of our war vets - show a little respect to them. We live in a free
country because of them. It may not be perfect but I assure you it is a
good deal better than any of the Unfree countries I have lived in or

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Wow! Nice weather today! So I went out.
And when I got back it was to a bunch of calls on my voice mail. All personal except one or two. Florence from Housing called. She has found someone in the know to help us out with Mr. YoungerNoMore's problem. Tomorrow we will make an appointment to get to the bottom of that one.

More good news~~~~

The Intercoms for the building are on order and we are just waiting for them to be delivered. I have heard a few comments that we are waiting due to politicking. Maybe, but I don't think so. Montreal is a big metropolis, Ottawa isn't. Montreal is a manufacturing center, Ottawa isn't. The only place in Ontario that compares to Montreal for this type of purchase is Toronto and the fact is that getting things from there is more expensive - the shipping costs and times are bigger because it is so much farther away. So we have to wait a bit. Part of the waiting is our own fault. Had we complained directly to Housing instead of among ourselves, Housing would have done something about it sooner. There are something like 200 buildings that fall under the heading "Ottawa Housing". Housing staff do not live here so unless we tell them, they do not know. So, if you have a complaint or you find something broken, Call Housing and tell them. Complaints are treated a bit like triage during a disaster - The worst get priority. In this building, if only one person calls about the door, it is less important than say, the elevator that gets 10 calls or the washer which get 40 calls. CAll even if you know your neighbour already did. Remember how fast the cameras were fixed when Housing got a petition with almost 4 pages of signatures. There really is power in numbers! There is an old expression that is so true and it is, "The squeaky wheel gets the oil". So be a squeaky wheel!

The other good news is that Housing is putting together a newsletter for this building and 2080. In it they will give an update of the things they are working on for us and the things they are looking at doing. We complained that Housing does not communicate and they heard us. It is a start! So Smile! You are a winner!

Did you watch W-5 last week? They did a piece on the outdated mail box locks that Canada Post has on it's boxes. I am pretty sure that our mail boxes are supplied by Canada Post but I will find out for absolute sure. If they are, we all need to write letter of complaint so that they will get their duffs in here and replace these old, easily robbed mail boxes with new, hard to break into ones. Keep an eye on this post for more info.

Have you noticed that the Security are a lot more visible of late? They are!
Have you seen our new cameras? They are up and working. Calibration is still being worked on so if you see someone doing something they should not be doing, make a mental note of the time. It will make it easier for them to find clips particular to that incident. If you find something broken, like a window or a washer etc, make a note of the time you discovered it. That way they know they do not have to look through 24 hours of tape - just the time prior to your finding it.

Tax time is fast running past us. Options ByTown has someone coming in to do taxes for you if you need help. ACORN also has a free tax service. If you want either outfit to help you with your taxes, you need to make an appointment. I have put the numbers below.

Call Donna at Options ByTown at 613-523-2952
Call Jill at ACORN at 613-746-5999

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reality and Illusion

The problem with communication ... is the illusion that it has been accomplished.

Some time ago, another tenant came to me and asked if I would help him get some answers to a problem he has had with Ottawa Housing. He explained the problem to me. It appeared, at the time, as relatively easy to fix so I said "Sure!"

Well here it is, almost a month since I wrote that first letter and we are still awaiting a comprehensive answer.

The Initial Problem:

Find out why the rent review keeps moving up. That is, why does a rent review, which has always occurred at the same time every year, inched forward over the past few years. Inched might be a bit of an understatement - it has moved forward by 7 months.

The Present Problem:

Initially we approached Sophie at Housing - she signed the increase notification.
Her response was to sent a long, letter of explanation which did not explain the time differences. It explained the money which is not the problem.

Ottawa Community Housing Corporation

4 \ Société de logement communautaire d’Ottawa

1 1365 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ont K1H 8K8

Tel: (613) 249-0458 Fax: (613) 249-0472

February 19,2009

First name YoungerNoMore

000-2100 Russell Road

Ottawa, Ontario

K1G 3W7

Dear Mr. YoungerNoMore

As per the letter that was sent to us regarding your rent calculations and our previous conversation, here is written explanation:

Back in 2006 your rent renewal date was November 2006. Your rent calculation was done in July /06 and resulted in an increase by more than $10 therefore your rent increased on the 1 of the second month after the change. Your rent was increased to $***.** on September 1, 2006 therefore your rent renewal date changed to September 2007.

Back in 2007 your rent renewal date was September 2007. We received your information in April /07 and resulted in an increase by more than $10 therefore your rent increased on the 1 of the second month after the change. Your rent was increased to $***.** on June 1, 2007 therefore your rent renewal date changed to June 2008.

Back in 2008 your rent renewal date was June 2008. Your rent calculation was done in February /08 and resulted in an increase less than $10 ($***) therefore your rent renewal date remained the same (June


In 2009 your rent renewal date was June 2009. Your rent calculation was done in February /09 and resulted in an increase by more than $10 therefore your rent increased on the 1 of the second month after the change. Your rent will increase to $***.** on April 1, 2009 therefore your rent renewal date changed to April 2010.

Yours truly,

Sophie Laurin

Housing Administrator

South Division Office


The question is and was, why did the date change? Why was it moved forward? Not once but three years in a row? This letter does not answer the question.

So I called her hoping for

The Solution

What I got was transferred to Al. Al called Mr. YoungerNoMore. He read him the letter. He could have saved his breath - Mr. YoungerNoMore and I both know how to read. Then he called me and laid the "It is Confidential" trip on me. This, in spite of me including all manner of confidential information I could only have if it had been given to me and the verbal declaration from Mr. YoungerNoMore to Al that he had asked me for help. Then he told me that Mr. YoungerNoMore understood. So why then does Mr. YoungerNoMore say he does not understand at all? Maybe because the question - Why do the dates keep moving forward? - has not been answered!

There were raises in the Old Age Pension and CPP prior to 2006, but the rent review under the Province's system still only occurred once per year. Now, for Mr. YoungerNoMore at least, rent reviews occur at a varying times each the year. The City and OHC, it appears to me, have changed the system but not made their changes comprehensive to the clients, particularly to the seniors - or something. I can only guess as I cannot find anyone to explain their system to me. It is unbelievable to me that a group of adults, putting together this system, gave no thought whatsoever to the fact that seniors came here from all walks of life, have varying amounts and types of education, and sometimes are set in their ways. They often need clearer explanations of complicated matters such as finance changes. Worse yet, OHC has people working for them who are unable to explain these changes, people who work by rote and not out of understanding of either the work they do or their clients.

A Word About the Seniors

Most of them arrived here when 2100 was still a Senior's Residence. They like this place. It was designed for their type of life - nice tidy apartments with beautiful grounds, a lounge to get together in and do the sort of things seniors like to do complete with the security that a senior needs to have. Play cards and Bingo, grow tomatoes, have a club. Then along came OHC and, through misrepresentations and manipulations, or so it appears, they took away the seniors' peace and tranquility. First they asked if they could move immigrants in. No problem! Then they started moving patients from mental facilities in and drug addicts. Problem!

Then they stopped caring about the building. There is no longer a live-in Building Manager. In fact, the Building Manager we have is seldom seen anywhere on site outside of the Maintenance Room and then for only as long as it takes to give the workmen their instructions for the day.

There is no longer a club - perhaps the one thing that is sorely missed by the seniors. Instead there is a very poor excuse for a Tenant's Association. Mostly it is made up of the seniors of old and a few others and does a lot of the same things the Club used to do. So for the Seniors, at least, it is not a total write off! Five short years ago, the building was relatively well run. It was clean and well maintained. We had a great gal (social worker) from Options Bytown in our sister building who was here; she was reliable; she was helpful.

Now we have a building that is dirty; it is not well maintained (and that is not meant to be a negative pronouncement against the Maintenance Men - they are now maintaining three buildings and they are having to do the same work over and over again because the drug addicts keep destroying things). We have seniors, almost seniors, immigrants and little children, all, for the most part decent tenants. But we also have drug addicts who destroy concrete things like the walls, windows and carpets. They also destroy the feelings of being secure and safe as well as our sleep at night. Our mail is stolen, our bulletin board is trashed almost daily, they are always bumming money and cigarettes. They leave their trash in the halls and on the walkways around the building. Their very being here is a threat even when they are not pantomiming slashing throats and pulling triggers. Our public washrooms have to be kept locked - the druggies use them to inject themselves and then leave their needles lying around for the kids and unsuspecting oldsters to pick up.

And I haven't even mentioned the odd paranoid and bipolar person who is put up from time to time. Those we are left to find out on our own about. And we have!! One gent was found in the hall without any clothes on. Another told everyone that OHC had spies put here pretending to be tenants just to keep track of him. He looked at each one of us as if we were a spy. And we cannot go to Options Bytown to chat about our problems anymore. The new gal does not seem to have much of an understanding of us or any interest in us either - she is seldom there. This is a life??? The life the seniors and later, others were promised when they moved in here??? I do not think so!

I keep hearing how much money OHC is throwing our way. That is nice! BUT, you can throw all the money you want. As long as you do not take a stand on drug addicts and criminals, it is wasted money. Here is a novel idea - Let the Criminal Justice System take care of the criminals they turn loose; let the Mental Health Departments take care of the mentally ill - even if it is just to see that they take their meds once here - they used to do that. How about a building just for druggies? Why destroy the lives of decent people in 200 or so buildings if you can put them all together in their own building(s)? I rather suspect that one of these days Ottawa will be known as 'Little Vancouver' where the drug addicts have pretty well taken over the City.

Back to Mr. YoungerNoMore's problem.

How about two separate systems - one for those on pensions and one for those working? Or how about someone at OHC that can explain the present system so that it is comprehensible to one and all. I think I know the answer to Mr. YoungerNoMore's question but it is not my place to guess. And part of that guess is that you have taken a relatively simple procedure and turned it into something so convoluted that even you cannot explain it. Me thinks you need to put your heads together and come up with

a. a better procedure or
b. a better explanation of the present procedure

Shame on you Ottawa Housing Corporation for being so inconsiderate to our seniors!
I hope for you all that when YOU become seniors, you do not run into types just like yourselves.