City Council will consider recommendations on May 5 and 6 to create a new seniors housing corporation to operate TCHC’s Seniors Housing Unit properties. If approved by City Council, the corporation will begin work later this year and is expected to take over the operation of TCHC seniors buildings in 2022.
The Tenants First team hosted a series of virtual information sessions including one on April 27 for tenants to learn more about the Implementing Tenants First staff report regarding the creation of Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation. A document summarizing tenants’ questions from the information sessions will be posted shortly.
The overall focus of Tenants First is to implement a plan in which Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) focuses on being a social housing landlord, where buildings are in a good state of repair, and tenants are connected to appropriate services and active participants in their communities.
Phase 1 of the Tenants First implementation plan was unanimously approved by Council in July 2017.
Implementation steps relating to the transfer of the Toronto Community Housing scattered housing portfolio, and an interim process to select Tenant Directors for the Toronto Community Housing Board of Directors were unanimously approved by Council in February 2018.
Further steps to implement the Tenants First project through developing an Integrated Service Model for seniors, creating a Seniors Housing Unit at TCHC, and transitioning towards a Seniors Housing and Services Entity at the City, were unanimously approved by Council in May 2018.
A report to accelerate the Tenants First project, including a faster timeline for reporting back to Council, was unanimously approved by Council in April 2019.
Four major recommendations were approved by City Council on July 4, 2017.
The REOI will help to assess a range of possible innovative service delivery models, funding models and housing operators for TCHC’s scattered portfolio.
The goal is to lay out a vision where Toronto Community Housing focuses on being a social housing landlord, where buildings are in a good state of repair, and tenants are connected to appropriate services and active participants in their communities.
There are three major recommendations that will be proposed to Executive Committee.
This is a long-term plan. Phase 1 recommendations will be submitted to the City of Toronto Executive Committee on June 19 and, if approved, they will be submitted for review by Toronto City Council in early July. If they are approved by Council then City staff will begin implementing Phase 1.
These recommendations are about making improvements and supporting TCHC to be a more focused landlord. One of the recommendations is the creation of a new Seniors Housing and Services entity that is more directly accountable to City Council and would be responsible for the management of 83 seniors-designated buildings (14,000 units) currently within the TCHC portfolio.
Yes, TCHC supports the goals of the report. THCH has provided the Tenants First Project Team with the information they needed and has worked on elements of the implementation plan.
Creating this Implementation Plan is about improving services and experiences for TCHC tenants. While there is no immediate financial impact associated with the Phase 1 recommendations, it is important to know that costs have been considered throughout this process. Part of these recommendations is the development of a funding model for TCHC that offers strategies for:
Transactional costs are usually related to legal and administration fees, and can include major contracts like loan agreements, development partnership agreements, leases etc.
There are several recommended funding strategies included within Phase 1 of the Implementation Plan. Executive Committee and City Council will review these strategies and make decisions through the budget process.
The 2017 budget provided TCHC with a base subsidy of approximately $242 million.
The Tenants First – Phase 1 Implementation Plan includes funding projections and potential strategies that will be put before Executive Committee and City Council for consideration. If approved, Council will decide how much funding TCHC will receive from the City through the City’s annual budget process.
This is a long-term plan. Phases are necessary to allow for a logical transformational shift in the delivery of social housing by the City. All phases are expected to only address the Tenants First Report of July 2016.
Currently, we’re focused on getting Phase 1 to Executive Committee and City Council for their review. The Tenants First Project Team expects that phased-in recommendations will generally be guided by, and within scope of Tenants First: A Way Forward for Toronto Community Housing and Social Housing in Toronto, as per Council input/direction.
Council direction for the Tenants First Project Team was to act on the Tenants First report of July 2016. This is a long term Implementation Plan and not all of the recommendations are included in Phase 1. It’s important to note that the Mayor’s Task Force report was never put before Council.
It’s important for the City to address seniors housing at TCHC for a few reasons:
If approved, the new Seniors Housing & Services entity will develop a way to deliver service that will also benefit those seniors who reside in mixed TCHC buildings.
In order to effectively improve and align services as well as best meet the needs of TCHC tenants who are vulnerable, it was important to focus on the needs of those tenants. Seniors were identified as a group that is currently underserved at TCHC, and who would benefit from better coordinated community based service. The recommendation is for all of the seniors-designated units because they offer a base to deliver well-coordinated and expert service to seniors.
Anyone who is 59 years and older is eligible for seniors housing.
Phase 1 recommendations address a new Seniors Housing and Service Entity that is part of helping TCHC become a more focused landlord. Phase 2 recommendations haven’t yet been developed.
Recommending a new Seniors Housing and Services Entity supports the Toronto Seniors Strategy. This report is also closely aligned with Housing Opportunities Toronto Today, TO Prosperity: Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy, Toronto Youth Equality Strategy, Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020, and Toronto Newcomer Strategy.
It has been a long process that has invited input and feedback from Tenants, TCHC, city councillors, city staff and others to get to this point. There have been several revisions and updates and it’s important to remember that even these Phase 1 recommendations are not yet final. They are subject to review by Executive Committee as well as City Council.
Tenants will benefit in a number of ways from the implementation of this plan:
In the short-term tenants will be engaged in the development of future phases.
No TCHC tenants will lose their housing because of the Tenants First Implementation Plan. TCHC continues to operate business as usual for the time being.
The Tenants First Project Team and TCHC are using a variety of methods to contact TCHC tenants including signage, email, online opportunities and tenant meetings. Tenants can also contact the Tenants First Project Team directly.
The Tenants First Project Team was established to continue the work of the Tenants First report and has been guiding the Tenants First Implementation Plan recommendations approved by City Council in July 2016. The team will create a plan that brings positive change to the tenants of Toronto Community Housing and strengthens the non-profit housing sector in Toronto.
The Tenants First team is continuing the work of the Task Force by making a plan for real and positive change for residents of Toronto Community Housing.
The Tenants First Advisory Panel wrapped up over two years of hard work in July 2019.
The Toronto Community Housing residents selected to be part of the Tenants First Tenant Advisory Panel represent a broad range of geographic and demographic diversity as well as knowledge, expertise and community interests appropriate to the Panel’s mandate and requirements.
The Panel brought their lived experience, knowledge, skills and interests to advise the Implementation Steering Committee on the development and implement changes at Toronto Community Housing and social housing in Toronto.
Michael is a young person who is committed to participating in the decision making processes that impact him. Volunteering with the Pebbles to Pearls program inspired Michael to become engaged in community building activities and he now works with his own group in his neighbourhood. Michael has lived with his family in Toronto Community Housing for 8 years and is currently a second-year Kinesiology student at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. Michael wants every member of his community to be healthy- spiritually,mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Nessa brings an extensive background in community activism and City building to the Advisory panel. She is a resident of the Kingston Galloway Orton park neighbourhood, where she participates as a community organizer and advocate for social justice and grassroots initiatives. Nessa has volunteered and served as a Board member of organizations including the Rexdale Women’s Centre, Council of Agencies serving South Asians and Residents Rising of KGO. Nessa is the Founder and Chair of Active Seniors Body and Mind Healthy Living through Arts and We are for Women and Family Support Services. Nessa is strongly committed to working with community members to bring a collective voice to all levels of government to advocate for meaningful change.
John has been a TCH tenant for 19 years. He is passionate about social and food justice, urban planning, public health and community organizing. John is a founding member of the St. Jamestown Community Café and has worked with Foodshare on community food projects and builds awareness of food justice issues. As a community animator, he’s engaged residents in the local revitalization process and helped create a social & economic development plan. John volunteers with the Sunshine Centre for Seniors and the Good Neighbours Food Market, and is a past member of the Annex Residents Association.
As a senior living in TCH, Alan brings a wealth of experience to the panel. Alan is currently an elected Tenant Representative and Co-Chair of Seniors Voice, a grassroots group of senior tenants living in TCH. He has also served as a member of TCH’s Participatory Budgeting Monitoring Committee, the Resident/Staff Finance & Governance Committee’s and he advocated for the creation of the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity. Alan is a Board member of the Mimico Wesley United Church.
Sharon is a proud 4th year social work student. Her social work journey has been filled with passion and a belief in working for the equality for all people. Sharon has a wide range of community based volunteer experience with organizations and groups including the 519 Community Centre, the South Asian Women’s Centre, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, Homes First Shelter, and the Black Women and Women of African Descent student group. Sharon is interested in issues of poverty and sustainable housing and looks forward to working for positive change on behalf of social housing tenants.
Kisa is a community activist who has been a resident of TCH for over 20 years. She engages residents at the grassroots level on the Lawrence Heights revitalization and other initiatives that impact her communities. Kisa has led and co-hosted public forums, education/awareness campaigns and has been a co-investigator on projects such as the Lawrence Heights Social Development Plan and the BePart community research project. Kisa believes that empowered residents can positively impact their communities, and channels that passion into her projects. She currently works at Unison Health & Community Services as the Coordinator for the
Resident First Project.
Augustre has been a resident of Scarborough and an active TCH tenant for about 30 years. Her history as an advocate on behalf of social housing tenants began with her role as a member of the Resident Advisory Committee with the Metro Toronto Housing Authority- and she has not stopped since. Augustre has served as an elected Tenant Representative with TCH and as a member of the City wide Tenant Engagement Reference Committee. She has been the civilian Co-Chair for her local Community Police Liaison Committee, has supported the Equity Policy Advisory Committee for the TDSB and sits on her local Neighbourhood Action Plan table.
Deqa Nur is a student at York University majoring International Development Studies. She is an activist and community leader who advocates for better building infrastructure and sustainable development across Toronto neighborhoods. She is engaged in many community based initiatives in the Eastmall area where she lives with her family, including her role as President of the Eastmall Steering Committee, member of the Etobicoke Central Hub Planning Committee, the Etobicoke Youth Network, and Kingsview Village Youth Planning Committee and as President of the Somali Parents Liaison Coalition. Deqa has organized and participated in public forums, focus groups and awareness campaigns on a variety of issues impacting communities in Toronto.
Ingrid Palmer is a legally blind public speaker. After living in Toronto Community Housing for over 30 years, it is her privilege to be an advocate of authentic collective dialogue as a member of the advisory panel. Ingrid brings a desire to represent the powerful potential of TCH residents. She is passionate about encouraging empowerment and resilience through community engagement. Ingrid volunteers in the special needs, education and community sectors. As a Co-chair of TDSB’s Inner City Advisory Committee, Ingrid believes that affected groups should always be able to inform the development initiatives that pertain to them. Ingrid is a certified workshop facilitator and has presented at numerous community conferences and symposiums.
Once voted by media representatives as one of the most newsworthy women in Canada, Doris continues her activism as a senior citizen as a member of the City of Toronto Seniors Forum, various disability organizations and the Law Union of Ontario. Doris is a pioneer in the struggle for social justice, equality and female leadership. She has consistently represented the disenfranchised, raised public consciousness and has influenced legislative changes at all levels. As a sole-support single mother Doris raised six children and is caregiver to her youngest son who has down syndrome/Autism and is legally blind. In spite of financial poverty and mobility challenges, she continues to be a passionate advocate for the poor and powerless. A sign on her wall states ‘I wanted to go out and save the world …but I couldn’t afford a babysitter!’
As a Jamaican Canadian woman who has raised five sons in TCH, Karlene has extensive lived experience of the challenges faced by families living in social housing. For more than 15 years, she has worked for positive change on behalf of tenants living in social housing, in her role as an elected TCH Tenant Representative and as an active member of Tenants for Social Housing, a grassroots organization of tenants advocating for the protection and promotion of tenant’s rights and social housing in Toronto. In 2012, Karlene was honoured with a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to her community.
Katelyn looks forward to contributing her energy, passion and a strong youth voice to the advisory panel. Katelyn coordinates the Junior Youth Empowerment Program in four TCHC communities including Chester Le, Leslie Nymark, Brahms and Willowtree. She strongly believes that to build a vibrant and unified force, all the members of the community have to be involved and active contributors to initiatives and programs that are in their communities. Katelyn puts her belief into action by connecting with residents at the grassroots level and asking them about their insights and ideas. Her work with the Junior Youth Program has inspired her to commit time and energy with young people.