Home > Useless Dicta > Why did Al Gosling have to die?

Why did Al Gosling have to die?

Al Gosling was 82 years when he forgot to renew his papers for subsidized housing. Surviving only on what little fixed income he recieved through his pension, Toronto Community Housing (THC) removed his subsidy. His rent increased to the market rate. He fell into arrears. He was evicted. He fell ill,  and died.

This incident marks a massive failure of the part of THC.  THC is an organization whose mandate is to provide housing for the most vulnerable people in society. These include immigrants, young families, those on social assistance and the elderly.

Not one person visited Mr. Gosling to inquire about his paperwork for a rent subsidy. Instead, faceless bureaucrats mailed letters to Mr. Gosling which either he didn’t read or understand. He then missed his hearing at the Landlord Tenant Board. It appears that the adjudicator summarily ordered the eviction without even having the presence of mind to appreciate the fact that a 82-year old man was now going to be living on the streets.

Mr. Gosling returned home one day and the Sheriff had already changed the locks. After living on the streets he became ill and was admitted to the hospital where he later died.

Another sensless eviction and another sensless death. If Al Gosling were to have retained an attorney from a  Community Legal Aid Clinic, perhaps this could have been avoided. It is doubtful he would have even known of the availability of the services of Legal Aid.

If any good might come out of this tradgedy, it is the damning report of Justice Patrick LeSage. Although THC considers the document remedial rather than an indictiment, it clearly outlines several failures at THC that need to be fixed. Perhaps they should start at the top with Ms. Nakamura, CEO of Toronto Community Housing.

The elderly, disabled and the impoverished are the most vulnerable segment of society. They face a struggle in every facet of life and there is no question in my mind that the law does not favour them. Now is a good chance to look at THC’s policies on eviction and completely change them because obviously there is some inherent flaw which allowed an 82-year old pensioner to die on the streets.

Categories: Useless Dicta
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