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Mental health, tenant supports coming to Newmarket Heights

'A tsunami of evictions there right now,' action table member says
USED 2019 08 29 Newmarket Heights sign DK
Debora Kelly/NewmarketToday

Service providers are coming to Newmarket Heights to give the community a boost and information to address mental health and evictions.

The Central Newmarket Community Action Table is holding a drop-in mental health and wellness event tomorrow. Area residents are invited to get information about programming in the community from providers including the Canadian Mental Health Association, John Howard Society of York, the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association and more.

Action table member Yvonne Kelly said information on legal options to address evictions in the community will also be available. 

“It’s more just to make the accessible services accessible and make people aware of what’s available,” she said of the event. 

The efforts are under York Region’s Community Safety and Well-being Plan. Newmarket Heights is one of the focus areas as a place with a below-average income relative to the region, plus a higher proportion of renters. 

Mental health and housing stability are the two focal points of the plant for Newmarket Heights. To that end, a tenant navigator has also been hired and is doing regular hours in the community to help them know their rights when served with an eviction notice.

“Kind of a tsunami of evictions there right now,” Kelly said. “They need to not sign anything until they know what their rights are … We really just want to help people understand, don’t agree to leave until you’ve checked out everything." 

An anonymous source on the community action table, who lives in the area and wanted to withhold their name for fear of retribution, said there are a lot of “horror stories” in the community regarding tenancy situations.

“We’ve decided — as residents in this neighbourhood that have been getting the wrong end of the stock — to (play) hardball,” she said. “It comes with a lot of stress. A lot of emotional stress.” 

More events are in the pipeline to provide community resources, Kelly said. She added that she is cautiously optimistic about how their work is progressing so far, but it will have to be an ongoing effort.

“What we need to see is an ongoing commitment to this work, and that’s where it’s always a challenge,” she said. “The important thing is we’re dealing with this from a preventive place, and we’re getting at the root causes.” 

The drop-in event will run at Maple Leaf Public School from 6:30 to 9 p.m. 

Newmarket Heights residents needing support on housing issues can contact newmarkettenantinfo@gmail.com.