Good morning Scott & Laurie,

I’m writing to you today as my representatives in City Hall and the Legislature to put an issue I’ve been experiencing onto your radar.

As you are probably aware, the rental housing market in Edmonton is below a 2% vacancy rate. My partner has been tirelessly working to secure accommodations for her and her two children for when she moves to Edmonton this holiday season. As a responsible citizen, she believes in a pedestrian lifestyle and centralized living. She believes that raising children in a central location is good for them, and promotes sustainable growth in the city. I agree, and it’s painful to see that Edmonton isn’t on board.

Even with a very healthy budget, she can’t find any apartments to lease Downtown or in Old Strathcona. Not because there aren’t any vacancies, but because no one wants to rent to families. Countless phone calls to potential landlords have been concluded with “sorry, no kids.” Kijiji and similar sites are peppered with “wanted” ads from single mothers attempting to secure central accommodations.

I lived in the Ottawa area for a year, and, as you may be aware, the Ontario Human Rights Code forbids housing discrimination on the basis of family status.

Personally, I have no children, but as an Edmontonian and downtown resident I do believe that central rentals should be available to anyone-especially families.

To sum up my feelings:

Municipally – family-friendly rental housing in the core neighbourhoods should be a priority if the City would like more people to choose these places to live.

Provincially – I think this is a human rights issue.

Thanks for your time,

Alena Manera

Alena is on the board of the Downtown Edmonton Community League. This letter was originally written and emailed November 10, 2014 to Edmonton City Councillor Scott McKeen and former Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman.

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