Alberta ACORN deliver Christmas cards to MLA calling for rent control

Students in Alberta are delivering Christmas cards, with one big holiday request for the provincial government.

Volunteers with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the organization pushing for rent control, are visiting the Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Rajan Sawhney’s office to drop off the cards.

“Students are some of the worst hit by the current housing crisis and are having to make incredibly hard decisions between eating a meal or paying for rent. Many students wrote about considering dropping out of school because they simply cannot afford rent and tuition,” said Kyla Szustaczek, field organizer with ACORN, in a news release.

One letter ACORN is sending reads as follows:

“Merry Christmas, 

My name is Cam. I’m a student at the U of C studying sociology & International Indigenous studies. During my time in school my rent has increased by over $500/mo and is going to rise another $100/mo. This has absolutely made it more difficult to accomplish my degree! For Xmas this year please support Bill 205 for a rent cap. 

Xoxo Cam”

University of Calgary student Keegan Colwell, who’s a volunteer with ACORN, says his rent has gone up $400.

“For me, that just means like, a lot of extra stress, a lot of extra work to pay for that, and cutting out a lot of smaller things that can no longer afford. So it adds on another level of instability to an already stressful time as a student,” he told CityNews.

He says students now are having a difficult time finding a place to live, let alone worrying about rent prices, and some also have to make sacrifices to be able to afford to live and go to school.

“So today’s action, we will be taking these 40 plus letters that were written by students talking about their struggles with housing in Calgary, and we will be delivering them to the Minister of Higher Education as scarred,” Colwell said.

“Hopefully, this encourages them to support Bill 205 for a rent cap and help students out that are struggling with housing in Calgary.”

With the recent proposal of Bill 205 by the Opposition NDP housing critic Janis Irwin for a temporary rent cap, students are hopeful Sawhney will support students and support a rent cap.

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