Who We Are
VTAG’s peer support working group is comprised of volunteer peer supporters who provide a space for listening, support, and solidarity to others who are facing issues of housing injustice. Peer supporters are not “experts”, but are non-homeowners themselves, who wish to offer empathy and knowledge to their peers, with the goal of achieving mutual empowerment. Landlords and housing providers have the imbalance of power over our lives, and the systems of recourse that are available to us are inaccessible and skewed in their favour. We understand that navigating disputes with landlords or housing providers can be an intimidating, isolating, and highly stressful experience, which is why we offer our solidarity services, to help shift the balance of power.
What we offer
The peer support working group is committed to supporting tenants through a mutual aid model, rather than acting as a service provider. This means that the people providing support are tenants themselves, who are volunteering their time to support other tenants, out of a sense of solidarity, need, and injustice at the power dynamic between landlords and tenants. We are not lawyers, so we can’t offer advice, but we can offer solidarity and information about legislation, resources, best practices, and potential options moving forward.
We can help navigate bureaucracy by helping to fill out forms, make phone calls, or just being present or available to guide someone through a bureaucratic process. We can accompany you as a silent witness to relevant meetings, and in some cases we can offer a solidarity letter explaining the issue to your landlord.
What We Ask
We require that anyone accessing support through our peer support working group read and agree to our shared agreements, and we reserve the right to withdraw support from anyone who fails to uphold the shared agreements throughout this process. Following the principle of mutual aid, we ask that the people who receive our support reciprocate by offering to volunteer to support others through VTAG, if they can. We understand that not everyone has the capacity to volunteer, but for those who do, we can discuss the type of volunteering and amount of time that will work for each individual. While the support of volunteers keeps our programs running, it is also an opportunity to gain skills and knowledge about housing justice while building relationships with other volunteers and organizers.