NEWS September 30th, 2015

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Group sees development as opportunity to create affordable housing

Newly formed All IN to interview federal election candidates on issue

A group of midtown residents have launched a new community group that plans to tackle issues reaching beyond their neighbourhood.

All IN is a new advocacy group with its roots in the Eglinton-Lawrence riding area — that is, from Yonge Street west to the rail tracks parallel to Caledonia Road, and from Eglinton Avenue north to the 401.

Founder Dyanoosh Youssefi says the intention is to advocate for inclusive communities by seeking long-term solutions to problems like a shortage of affordable housing, which extend beyond local borders.

“We’re starting it in this neighbourhood because there’s so much development in midtown,” she said. “We don’t want to lose the opportunity to ensure that among all the new developments there are decent sized homes that are affordable for families.”

Aside from affordable housing, All IN — which stands for All Inclusive Neighbourhoods, identify civic engagement and income inequality as top priorities as well as affordable housing.

The genesis of the group came during Youssefi’s run for council in Ward 16 last year, when she met people who she wanted to keep in touch with while canvassing door to door.

“I didn’t want that network and those connections to go to waste,” she said. “I sent an email to people on my list and suggested a couple projects I’d been working on and asked people who were interested to let me know.”

All IN steering committee member and Yonge and Eglinton area resident Leah Adema says she joined when she was looking for a way to become more involved in the neighbourhood she’s called home for just under two years.

“It’s difficult to know where to start or which issue you want to focus on if you don’t want to focus on one issue,” Adema said. “This was an opportunity to talk about all of those things together.”

The first official events for the group, which currently has a 13-person steering committee and membership pushing 100, are back-to-back soiree interviews with two candidates in the federal election.

On Oct. 3, Liberal candidate in Eglinton-Lawrence Marco Mendicino is sitting down with the group at a member’s home, and Oct. 6 will see NDP candidate Andrew Thomson do the same. Conservative candidate and finance minister Joe Oliver declined.

“We wanted to use [the interview] as a platform to ask questions that we have identified as priority issues for our members,” Youssefi said. “What we want is to ask questions that give the candidates a chance to give answers that go beyond soundbites and platitudes.”

The interviews will be recorded on video, and later posted on the group’s website allinadvocacy.ca.

All IN is also planning an event around affordable housing in November.