Stepping up to make a difference in extreme times Landlords, property managers and other members of the rental housing industry make regular contributions to improving the lives of their tenants as well as the communities in which they live. They have also gone above and beyond during emergencies. To follow are some of those amazing stories. Fort McMurray wildfires On May 1, 2016, wildfires swept through Fort McMurray, causing widespread destruction and displacing tens of thousands of people from their homes. Many members of the rental housing industry came forward to help their tenants and others who either lost their homes or were forced to flee the region. Yardi Canada Ltd. set up a centralized housing registry for Alberta on the RentCafé website, which enabled landlords to list available rental accommodations for evacuees. Mainstreet Equity Corp. offered 100 apartments in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon with at least three months of free rent for Fort McMurray evacuees. Within the first 24 hours of making the offer, all 100 suites had been filled. Two days later, Mainstreet offered another 100 rental units in Edmonton. Boardwalk Rental Communities made hundreds of rental units available at no cost
20 | March 2019
to Fort McMurray evacuees on a short-term basis. Gatineau and Ottawa tornadoes On September 21, 2018, six tornadoes ripped through the Gatineau and Ottawa communities, leaving hundreds of people without power. The storms also caused severe damage to the Mont-Bleu neighbourhood, which is home to Skyline Living’s Les Jardins Radisson. Skyline Living’s staff worked with emergency services to help injured tenants and evacuate units safely, as well as assess the damage, implementing its Business Continuity Plan (BCP). R. Jason Ashdown, the company’s co-founder, and other staff members drove for six hours to bring tools and generators. They set up emergency power for their office to coordinate efforts, as well as keep tenants and their families informed of the situation. They implemented a system to allow tenants to collect belongings, set up care for pets, and set about cleaning and repairing the property. Skyline Living also arranged food drives, while other properties collected donations for the Red Cross.