What's New?

Trivia Night

Join Victoria Tenant Action Group as we host our first (annual?) Victoria Trivia Action Games on Friday, January 15 at 7:00PM via Zoom!

 

We are long overdue for a fun, social VTAG event, so please join us for an exhilarating evening of HOUSING JUSTICE TRIVIA! 

 

Do you miss meeting new people? This will be team trivia, with teams of 4-6 participants who will be randomly assigned upon arrival. All questions will be themed broadly around housing and housing justice, but you don’t need to be an expert to play! Just bring a fun attitude, team spirit, and a willingness to take a chance! 

 

The winning team will be awarded fashionable and celebratory buttons to show the world that  they are Victoria Trivia Action Games CHAMPIONS, and will have their team name inscribed on the Victoria Trivia Action Games trophy! Who would turn down this opportunity for glory? Not you! , To RSVP, please email tenants.victoria@gmail.com (subject line: Trivia Night).

 

Even if you don’t win, you’ll probably meet some cool people and learn some important stuff, so don’t be intimidated by the trivia aspect of the evening. This event is about getting together and having fun in whatever ways we can right now. The trivia game will last about an hour (with a short intermission) and will be followed by 30 minutes or so of free socializing for whoever wants to stick around (and can be extended if needed).

 

To help create an atmosphere of togetherness, we have included recipes for a beverage and a snack that you can enjoy during the game.

 

We hope to see you there!

 

Recipes:

 

Hot Toddy

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag tea

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)

  • 1.5 oz brandy, whiskey, or rum (optional)

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 lemon wedge for garnish (optional)

 

Instructions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and add your tea bag. Allow to steep for the recommended time. 

  2. Remove the tea bag, add remaining ingredients (except lemon wedge for garnish). Stir.

  3. Garnish with lemon, if you choose.

  4. Enjoy! 


 

If you want to eat the same snacks as your new Trivia friends, you can try out this Cauliflower Wings recipe, which has links to dip options too! Https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-buffalo-cauliflower-wings/ 

 

Yum!

Annual General Meeting

The Victoria Tenant Action Group (VTAG) would like to invite you to our second Annual General Meeting!  Any current and prospective members are invited to attend to learn about VTAG’s accomplishments over the past year, and to get involved in our decision-making and action for the upcoming year!

 

The meeting will take place on:

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2020 at 6:30 PM PST

 

This will be a virtual AGM using the Zoom web-conference platform. The Zoom link will be provided later to those who RSVP.

 

To RSVP: Please e-mail tenants.victoria@gmail.com

 

If your membership needs renewing: We would love for you to renew your membership and join us as a voting member at the AGM! If your membership has expired you will be unable to vote at the AGM. Please e-mail us or go to this page to find a membership form, fill it out, and e-mail it back to us by Dec. 10th 2020.

 

Please note: non-members are welcome to join our virtual AGM but cannot have voting privileges. Please RSVP by e-mail and let us know you would like to attend as a non-member.


Victoria Tenant Action Group (VTAG) is an organization of mutual aid and solidarity for renters.  We operate on the unceded traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ and Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples. Our mission is to educate, foster solidarity, and work toward social and policy change for those who do not own a home. Whether you are an experienced organizer looking to bring your knowledge and experience to VTAG, or if you have been wanting to get involved in housing justice or simply learn more about your rights as a renter and connect with others, the AGM is a perfect opportunity to get started!

At the Annual General Meeting, we will:

  • Highlight VTAG’s work and accomplishments since our last AGM

  • Review financial statements

  • Share outcomes from VTAG’s 2020 strategic planning 

  • Vote in a new Board of Directors and welcome new general members

  • Vote on a number of Special Resolutions that relate to developing VTAG’s Constitution and Bylaws. Special Resolutions are:

 

  1.  Amend Bylaws to add Part 8: Access to Records: “As mandated by the Society Act Section 28 (1), access to financial statements and auditors reports entitled to public inspection are available for inspection. Section 25(1), all other records are restricted and access is at the full discretion of the board.” 

 

  1. Amend Bylaw Part 2.2: “Every member must uphold the constitution of the Society, and the shared agreements, and must comply with these Bylaws.”

 

  1. Amend Bylaws Part 1 - Definitions and Interpretation : “Shared agreements as determined by the board upon recommendations by steering committee in consultation with membership. ”

 

Members interested in deeper involvement in VTAG are invited to run for our Board of Directors.  Please contact us if you are interested in running for VTAG’s Board!  For those who cannot make Board or volunteer commitments, the AGM is a great time to have your say in VTAG’s growth and our plans for housing action in the coming year!

Learn about registration and our Virtual AGM Protocol

Check out these beautiful Banners!

Banner Making and Drop-In Event:

Socially Distanced of Course!

The UVic Tenant Action Group and Victoria Tenant Action Group invite you to gather for an afternoon sign-making and drop-in event. We are coming together to build community, discuss issues directly affecting renters, and make signs and banners in support of housing justice.

This is an outdoor event, so we will postpone if the weather is bad. There will be single-serving food, bus tickets, social distancing, masks and sanitizer, and great people of course! All sign-making and other supplies will be provided. If you have specific requests to participate (such as special transportation fare), please reach out to us at tenants.victoria@gmail.com

When: Saturday October 3 2020, 11 am-2 pm

Where: Centennial Square

Why a Teach-In? Why now?

In response to the ongoing housing crisis and the lifting of B.C.'s pandemic-related eviction moratorium, VTAG and UVicTAG are taking a stand with the following demands:

1. No evictions during COVID

The COVID crisis has exacerbated the already uneven power dynamic between tenants and landlords. BC’s eviction moratorium stopped some evictions from happening, but failed to protect all those at risk of eviction. Now, the eviction moratorium is lifting while COVID numbers are rapidly rising and the economy remains in crisis. VTAG is demanding a ban on all evictions during the COVID economic crisis.

2. Cancel rent & erase rent debt

The inability to pay rent during this crisis should not be understood as a collection of individual failures, but as a result of the crises of capitalist speculation and government deregulation - the housing crisis is just one of many intersecting layers of crises that this pandemic has pushed to a breaking point. We demand that the cost of this pandemic not be borne by people in poverty while landlords profiteer from our monthly payments, and the government offers billions in corporate bailouts.

3. Shelter in place, now and always

VTAG demands that all people, whether they are housed, or living in a tent or a vehicle, must be able to shelter in place, at all times of day, without penalty. Addressing homelessness means making affordable housing available - and this housing must not simply warehouse people, but offer autonomy, self-determination and dignity.

4. Landlord accountability

Recognizing housing as a human necessity, a common good, and a fundamental right means democratizing housing and bringing it under public control. This is a process that can begin by implementing greater accountability for those who are landlords under the current system.

We demand real housing justice for all. Not just during the pandemic, but always.

We hope to see you there on October 3!

 

R.S.V.P. on Facebook

For questions or more information, e-mail tenants.victoria@gmail.com

Notes on accessibility for this event at Centennial Square

For more information you can contact us or try contacting the City of Victoria.

This event is in an open-air, public event. The sensory environment cannot be controlled. While attendees will be expected to socially distance and practice good COVID-19 hygiene protocol, the actions of others sharing this public space cannot be controlled.

 

Children are welcome but no organized childcare is provided.

There is a pay phone on Fisgard Ave. east of Government St.

 

There are some small areas that are designated no-smoking, near the Government/ Fisgard corner of the square.

Centennial Parkade has elevator access to Centennial Square. A vehicle could stop temporarily for a drop-off on Government St. (northbound lane) between Fisgard and Pandora, where there is a ramped curb providing access to the sloped walkway that leads to the square. There is also a passenger 2-minute drop-off zone on Pandora just east of Government, but the 2-lane bike lane is between the drop-off spot and the ramped curb that leads to the sidewalk. Pay

parking is available on the streets around the square.

More parking info: https://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/residents/parking/parkades.html

The square has numerous benches as seating. There are some covered outdoor spaces in the square, but they do not have seating and the ground is concrete.

 

There is public transit access on Douglas Street, and an access ramp to get to the square from Douglas Street, about half a block's walk into the square.

 

There is a public outdoor sink with soap and potable water in the square, but this may not be accessible from a wheelchair.

There are bike racks in various locations around the square.

There are security guards on site.

There are public washrooms available, but no gender-neutral washrooms. The washrooms are accessed by ramps but they are in slightly narrow hallways. There are grab rails on the way to the "men's" washroom but not to the "women's". The washroom doors are heavy, open with a handle that has to

turn, and do not open automatically. The washrooms have safe needle disposal sites. Washrooms are brightly lit, and have a large stall for wheelchair access. The sinks are high, with room for wheelchairs underneath. The "women's" washroom has a porthole on the door so people can see into the washroom

space. The "women's" washroom has a baby changing table. There is no hand sanitizer available in the washroom but there is soap and water.

VTAG 6-month visioning session

In July, we held our (physically-distant) 6-month VTAG visioning session at MEEGAN. It was such a treat to get to meet in person and to collectively reflect on our work so far and determine our direction for the next 6 months. A lot of our work since December has been focused on creating a strong foundation for our organizing through strengthening our internal structure, policies, and processes. With a strong foundation, we can create a sustainable and supportive organizing environment that will allow VTAG to keep organizing for housing justice for the long haul! It's been a lot of work, but we are very excited to see our hard work turning into the increased capacity we need to focus more of our energy on external projects and campaigns in the coming months.

VTAG Steering Committee members at our 6-month visioning session.

All those smiles after 3+ hours of visioning!

July 17, 2020 Newsletter

BC is making you bail out your landlords—eviction ban ends in September and "repayment plan" begins in October

We and many other renters across BC have warned of a mass eviction wave following the end of the eviction ban for rent non-payment and the BC government has responded--by delaying some of those evictions without addressing the problem. BC will end the eviction ban on September 1st, and evictions for nonpayment can apply to all rent due on or after that date. For rent charged before September, tenants will have to enter a repayment plan lasting until July 2021.

This 10-month repayment plan continues the false presumption that tenants are shirking their rent responsibility, and it loads the financial impact of the COVID pandemic onto the backs of those least able to pay. Along with renters across BC, VTAG is calling for rent debt amnesty to offer real protection to renters who are vulnerable to eviction.

 

Rent debt is the fault of the government, not renters

Rent debt is being framed as a necessary payment that tenants have skipped due to the pandemic. But in fact it is an unfair cost forced on people at a time when many could not work but still required shelter. It is the consequence of the government not stepping up and cancelling rent and mortgage payments for even a single month at the height of a global shutdown and public health emergency. It is BC passing the economic fallout of the pandemic down to workers and others who are least able to pay.

"Repayments" are an unaffordable increase to already unaffordable rent

The requirement of year-long payment plans for "rent debt" is a defacto rent increase, is unaffordable, and exceeds what the Residential Tenancy Act would allow. Rent prices have already grown 15% in the past year according to this week's new data from PadMapper. One-bedrooms in Victoria are now up to an obscene $1600 after yet another year of triple-digit price increases. 

BC rent was completely unsustainable before the pandemic, and property owners were fuelling a housing crisis at our expense. Now the provincial government, after failing to tame the housing crisis, is insisting that renters pay even more in order to keep afloat the people who’ve profited off the crisis. Renters in long-term homes are supposed to be protected from these increases by the annual cap and the supposed current rent freeze the province has promised. Tacking on monthly payments for debt that shouldn't exist is a rent increase that will push vulnerable renters out to try to work more as the second wave hits us.  

Landlords can pay, tenants can't 

Landlords can defer mortgage payments but are still requiring renters to pay every month. Many landlords are even mortgage-free, so CERB and the $300 supplement have been a handout for them. Most landlords in BC are not "mom and pops" and for those that are we have advocated for no-penalty, no-interest mortgage deferral. We are expected to pay for our landlord's second, fifth, or hundredth home and keep their passive income coming in when many of us who labour for the income they rely on are still unable to work.

The assumption that CERB, $300, and reopenings have replaced tenants' incomes is false. Many people fell through the cracks of CERB. Many Victoria renters work in the hospitality industry, which may take years to recover. But now, despite losing the income that rent already ate half of, they are expected to take on a 10-month rent increase. 

Rent debt amnesty! 

VTAG is demanding rent debt amnesty, structured in a way that does not leave behind those who paid rent they couldn't afford due to their fear of debt. The province must stop unjustly downloading the cost of the pandemic to renters. The province must do better than impose yearlong mandatory "repayment" plans, which are just rent increases by another name. 

We urge you to reach out if you're being exploited, threatened, or pressured—and to begin organizing with your neighbours to help protect each other from eviction and mistreatment. We are here to support you in that and will be working this summer to organize tenants and pressure officials and landlords to back off of rent debt and debt evictions.

VTAG recognizes the relationship between displacement and colonialism and organizes within the unceded territories of the Lkwungen (Esquimalt and Songhees), Malahat, Pacheedaht, Scia’new, T’Sou-ke and W̱SÁNEĆ (Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum) peoples.

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tenants.victoria@gmail.com

1581-H Hillside Ave. 

Box 183

Victoria BC V8T 2C1