›› Hannah Rabinovitch
My partner and I were excited to move to Caledonia Avenue to start our family—we moved in while I was pregnant. Our house is within a block of three subsidized housing buildings and a recovery house, which means our son will grow up in a diverse neighbourhood with people from different backgrounds, families, abilities, and income levels. My son now crawls around with kids from those buildings at community centre Mom and Tot drop-ins, will go to school with them at George Jay, and will trick or treat with them around the neighbourhood on Hallowe’en. Our son’s life will be enriched by our neighbours, and he’ll probably have more Indigenous and newcomer friends than if he grew up on a street of single-detached homes.
Research has shown that everyone’s wellbeing is improved in an income diverse neighbourhood. Even rich people are better off, reporting better mental health when living next to people with lower incomes.
Results from the 2018 Victoria Homeless Survey showed that on one night at least 157 youth in our region did not have a safe home to return to that night. Aaron Parker, the Principal of Victoria High School, says it is difficult to collect statistics, but that they have one or two homeless students. These are kids trying to graduate from high school!
Parker notes that a much larger problem is underhousing or poor housing. Some students are couchsurfing, and many families are living in very cramped and unhygienic housing. There is an urgent need for affordable housing right in Fernwood. For families, for single adults, for seniors, and for youth.
I cannot imagine dealing with the challenges of new-motherhood while also struggling to find a safe, affordable place to live. I cannot imagine trying to find a place to live in this tight rental market while being as sleep deprived as I am or while dealing with a crying baby in arms. But for many families in this region, renting a secure, affordable home is a far off dream. Renoviction, demoviction, or landlord possession threaten constantly. I’ve personally had two friends evicted while pregnant or in babe’s first year.
Every child deserves a safe, secure home, and every mom, dad and uncle deserves one too.
I support affordable housing in my neighbourhood. I support the Capital Region Housing Corporation’s proposed Caledonia development between Gladstone and Grant.
Hannah Rabinovitch is mother to her son Zevi Morrison, and they regularly attend Mother Goose at the Fernwood Community Centre (when it works with naptime).