by Sahar Ashraf
The broken and neglected heating system in 3171 Eglinton Ave. E., a TCHC building, has forced residents to buy their own space heaters and use their ovens to stay warm as wind chill temperatures drop to as low as -36 C .
“Every winter is the same problem,” said Piranavan, who lives on the ninth floor and has been in the building for 14 years. “Our heating is not good. We have portable heating around the unit. My mom is getting old now and her joints are starting to feel a little numb because of the cold. We can’t even sleep properly half the time. I’m sure the other units are feeling the same way.”
A survey of dozens of people in the building by BASICS Community News Service revealed that radiators are not in working order in most units at 3171 Eglinton Ave E.
Residents are also frustrated with the lack of hot water, which at best is lukewarm.
Naeem and his wife, who have been residents for 18 years, say that they must shower at night because there’s no hot water in the morning. Even at night, the water stays warm for just five minutes.
The situation is particularly horrific for ‘Grandma’ Rampersaud, an 80-year-old woman who lives right above the lobby of the building. She feels a constant draft coming from the broken doors of the lobby, forcing her to use sweaters and cardboard to try and seal her windows.
“I can’t take it,” said Rampersaud. “Me had a cough, right, but still after the cold the cough not done. Me have this cough for three weeks. I’ve reported it [to management] and they do nothing at all. Nothing at all.”
Rampersaud wears three blankets to sleep because she’s too afraid to leave the space heater on at night. She borrowed it from her neighbor, Gary Hann, another senior citizen, because she is unable to afford one herself.
Hann himself has two space heaters in his apartment and is concerned about how mothers in the building are getting their kids ready for school with no hot water and heat.
Many of the residents have complained to management but their suffering is ignored.
“They don’t care,” said Piranavan. “They have some sort of attitude problem. All the workers there are kind of disrespectful. You can tell they don’t care.”
Residents of the building are being organized by People’s Defence, who are campaigning to fight against the inhumane conditions that TCHC is forcing its residents to live in. People’s Defence can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.