Mohamed Yusuf left his home in Ottawa’s Heron Gate community in October 2018, following about four months of organizing with the tenant coalition resisting an eviction order issued by their landlord, Timbercreek Asset Management Inc.
In the end, Yusuf and his neighbours – largely racialized, immigrant, and low-income families – were forced to leave their homes, and the 150 low-rise townhouses in the city’s south end were demolished. Over 500 people were evicted. Timbercreek’s new plan for the area includes around 5,500 units with 20 per cent earmarked as affordable housing. Yusuf calls the Heron Gate evictions a step “to systematically remove those immigrants from the area and bring some middle-class families in there.”
Yusuf’s eviction wasn’t just an example of gentrification; it was part of a larger pattern of financializing housing. Timbercreek is one of many financial actors – including asset managers, private equity firms, and real estate investment trusts (or REITs) – that make up the global financialized housing system.