Tenant and Housing Rights

Project Name

Sleep a Night under My Roof

Project Partners

Lead Agency: The Table Community Food Centre (“The Table”)
Legal Partner: Lanark, Leeds & Grenville Legal Clinic

Project Summary

This is a participatory training project that aims to educate front line workers on tenant and housing rights under the law.

Legal Topics for Training

The focus of the training is housing and tenants’ rights in Ontario. Information to be covered includes:

  • Residential Tenancies Act
  • Role and function of the Landlord and Tenant Board
  • Evictions
  • Issues about moving into a rental unit, living there, and moving out

Target Audience

This training will be offered to the following groups:

  • Professionals and frontline workers in the health and social service fields
  • Frontline workers in the educational field
  • Students enrolled in full time college and university programs in fields such as Social Work and Police Foundations

Key Activities

The project is built around two training sessions that will cover housing and tenant law. The first session will be a full day workshop that will use the “Homelessness Maze”. This training tool allows participants to experience the real life challenges and issues that community members face in relation to their living situation.

A second session will be held a few months after the initial workshop. This will be an opportunity for participants to reflect on what they have learned, clarify any questions or confusions, identify additional areas for future learning and discuss how they are using the new information in their daily work.

Need for Training

The Table decided to focus on housing issues based on data collected by its Community Advocacy Office. From November 2013 to November 2014, the Community Advocacy Office was open for 162 days (three hour shifts). They saw 343 visits to the office by 134 distinct participants. The number one issue was housing (22%). This project responds to this need by providing training to front line workers in housing and tenant rights.

Innovative Approach

The Table will use a “Homelessness Maze” to deliver the training. Training participants will be assigned a character with a background story. They will then work their way through ‘the system’ by visiting relevant agencies. These agencies will be set up in kiosks around the room. Participants will try to find support and assistance to meet their needs. The kiosks will highlight the truth of how frustrating it can be to access services. Participants will be able to directly experience the kinds of housing and legal issues that many low-income community members face. As a result, they will be better able to understand the lived experiences of their clients.