Update on Tenants First Phase One Implementation

The latest Tenants First report, Implementing Tenants First: Creating a Seniors Housing Unit at TCHC, and Transitioning towards a Seniors Housing and Service Entity at the City, is publicly available.

This report was unanimously approved by City Council on May 22, 2018. There are eight recommendations included in this report, summarized in three key recommended actions:

  • TCHC and the City of Toronto, in partnership with Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC LHIN) and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC), to design and implement a new integrated service model for seniors housing to promote ageing in place, better quality of life, and successful tenancies for seniors living in TCHC seniors’ and mixed buildings.
  • TCHC to establish a new Seniors Housing Unit as a separate management structure within TCHC, with oversight for the portfolio of seniors-designated buildings and responsibility for delivering the new integrated service model for seniors housing.
  • City of Toronto to begin the process to create a Seniors Housing and Services Transition Team.

Previous Tenants First Reports

You can find further information relating to the Tenants First Phase One implementation plan below.

There are three key recommendations that were approved by City Council on February 2, 2018:

  1. Allow non-profit providers to:
    • Assume management and ownership of 22 Rooming Houses
    • Oversee and manage building operations of 660 Scattered Houses.
  2. Transform 22 Rooming Houses into 204 units of supportive housing.
  3. Adopt a new interim process to select Tenant Directors to the TCHC Board of Directors.

Next Steps to Implement Tenants First

  • Rollout of a new process for selecting applicants to Tenant Director positions on the TCHC Board. Recommendations for Board members will be presented to City Council in April.
  • Issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to coordinate support for Rooming House tenants.
  • Issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to non-profit providers to own and operate 660 Scattered Houses. A report with recommendations would be presented to Council in 2019.

The Tenants First team will continue work with Toronto Community Housing on recommendations related to the Toronto Community Housing seniors portfolio. These recommendations will be considered by Executive Committee, and then Council, later in 2018.

TCHC’s Scattered House Portfolio

TCHC’s scattered housing portfolio consists of Agency Houses, Rooming Houses, and Single Family Houses.  A list of scattered houses affected by this report is included in Appendix 1 of the report.

  • Agency House: A TCHC-owned house that is currently leased by a non-profit corporation for a housing related purpose. Housing related purpose includes but is not limited to: social housing, affordable housing, emergency shelter, transitional housing, providing housing or settlement services for newcomers, and providing housing in a variety of settings to vulnerable residents, including those that require supports.
  • Rooming House: A TCHC-owned house with shared kitchen and/or washroom, occupied by four or more tenants, each of whom pays an individual rent.
  • Single Family House: A TCHC-owned house that is not a Rooming House or Agency House. Houses can be one single unit or multiple apartments within a house

Apply to Become a Tenant Director on the TCHC Board

The interim process approved by Council for the next term of the Board uses the City’s Public Appointments Process to select two Tenant Directors. Any TCHC tenant over the age of 18 can apply. Applications open on Monday, February 5 and close on Sunday, March 4 2018.

You can apply online at www.toronto.ca/tchctenant.

Toronto City Council approved the Tenants First Phase 1 Implementation Plan July 4, 2017.

Toronto City Council unanimously adopted the Tenant First – Phase 1 Implementation Plan (EX 26.2).

Today’s unanimous vote is another step in the ongoing work to improve social housing in Toronto. This plan responds to recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force and is laser focused on enhancing services and experiences for all Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) tenants, especially those who are most vulnerable. I look forward to reviewing future phases of this plan. Mayor John Tory

The Tenants First – Phase 1 Implementation Plan was first reviewed by Executive Committee on June 19. The plan contains a total of 11 recommendations, of which three are key recommendations:

  • The creation of a new Seniors Housing and Services entity that is more directly accountable to City Council and is responsible for managing 83 seniors-designated buildings (approx. 14,000 units) currently within the TCHC portfolio.
  • A process to better focus TCHC on serving the needs of families, youth, vulnerable tenants and seniors living in mixed buildings.
  • A proposed new funding model to ensure adequate funding for both TCHC and the proposed new Seniors Housing and Services entity.

A copy of the Phase 1 Implementation Plan is available at toronto.ca/tenantsfirst.

Phase 1 of the plan is a significant step forward to improve the quality of life for existing and future Toronto Community Housing residents. It will enable the creation of stronger partnerships with the public and not-for-profit sectors to better provide services and support for all TCHC tenants and Toronto’s rapidly growing seniors population. I would like to thank City Council, the project team, TCHC staff and most importantly, TCHC tenants for their continued work and leadership to create positive change. Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport), City Council’s Housing Advocate

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. A 13-member Tenant Advisory Panel was created to share lived experience, knowledge and advice in the development of the plan. Input and feedback on phase 1 was also sought from Toronto Community Housing, the non-profit sector, TCHC tenants, City staff and others.

The Implementation Plan is aligned with the Toronto Seniors Strategy, Housing Opportunities Toronto Today, TO Prosperity: Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy, Toronto Youth Equality Strategy, Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020, and Toronto Newcomer Strategy.

The Tenants First Project Team and TCHC will begin work immediately to implement phase 1 of the plan. The Project Team has committed to submitting phase 2 of the Implementation Plan to City Council in Fall 2017. Funding requirements for phase 1 of the plan will be submitted as part of the 2018 budget process.

Overview

In July 2016, City Council approved Tenants First – A Way Forward for Toronto Community Housing and Social Housing in Toronto which proposed changes to transform Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).

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. A 13-member Tenant Advisory Panel was created to share lived experience, knowledge and advice in the development of the plan. Input and feedback was also sought from Toronto Community Housing, the non-profit sector, TCHC tenants, City staff and others.

The overall focus of the Implementation Plan 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.

Toronto Community Housing supports the goals of the report, has provided the Tenants First Project Team with the information they needed and has worked on elements of the Implementation Plan.

Summary of Phase 1 Recommendations

In all, there are 11 recommendations included in Phase 1 of the Implementation Plan. Of those eleven, there are three key recommendations including:

The creation of a new Seniors Housing and Services entity that is more directly accountable to City Council and is responsible for the management of 83 seniors-designated buildings (approx. 14,000 units) currently within the TCHC portfolio.

A New TCHC and the start of a process for redefining TCHC’s mandate to focus its role as a social housing provider serving the needs of families, youth, vulnerable tenants and seniors living in mixed buildings.

Adequate funding, through a proposed new funding model, for both TCHC and the proposed new Seniors Housing and Services entity. The Plan includes strategies and projections to address interim (short-term) funding, permanent (long-term) funding and transactional cost considerations.

Benefits of the Tenants First Plan (long-term)

If approved, TCHC Tenants will benefit from these recommendations in the following ways:

Seniors in TCHC mixed buildings, as well as those who live in buildings run by the new Seniors Housing and Services entity will experience improved services.

TCHC will be in a better position to maintain buildings and to meet the needs of all of its tenants.

There will be better programs and services offered to TCHC tenants because of stronger partnerships with community agencies as well as the City.

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.

Next Steps

If approved, the Project Team will begin implementing Phase 1 recommendations. In the report, the Tenants First Project Team has committed to providing Phase 2 recommendations by the end of 2017.

The Tenants First Project Team expects that phased-in recommendations will generally be guided by Tenants First: A Way Forward for Toronto Community Housing and Social Housing in Toronto, as per Council input/direction.

The Goal of the Tenants First Implementation Plan

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.

The Key Changes Being Proposed in Phase One of the Plan

There are three major recommendations that will be proposed to Executive Committee.

  1. The creation of a new Seniors Housing and Services entity that is more directly
    accountable to City Council and is responsible for the management of 83
    seniors-designated buildings currently within the TCHC portfolio.
  2. A New TCHC and the start of a process for redefining TCHC’s mandate to focus its role as a social housing provider serving the needs of families, youth, vulnerable tenants and seniors living in mixed buildings.
  3. Adequate funding for both TCHC and the proposed new Seniors Housing and Services entity.

Implementation Timeline

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.

TCH Changes

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.

Support for these Recommendations

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.

The Cost to the City

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:

  • Interim (short-term) operating and capital funding which will be submitted through the 2018 budget process (which begins in 2017)
  • Transactional cost considerations designed to mitigate financial risk to the City through the transfer of seniors housing to a new entity
  • Permanent (long-term) funding formula for Council consideration in 2019

Transactional Costs

Transactional costs are usually related to legal and administration fees, and can include major contracts like loan agreements, development partnership agreements, leases etc.

Funding for the Implementation Plan

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.

Phasing in the Implementation Plan

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.

Expected Recommendations Beyond Phase 1

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.

The Mayor’s Task Force Recommendations Not Being Considered in Phase One

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.

Seniors Are a Focal Point of Phase 1

It’s important for the City to address seniors housing at TCHC for a few reasons:

  • Toronto’s population of seniors is growing and data shows that 1 in 5 Torontonians will be considered a senior citizen by 2031; and
  • The city currently funds and provides many services to seniors and this is an opportunity to better align these services.

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.

Implementation Plan Calls for 14,000 Units

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.

At What Age Does TCHC Consider a Tenant to be a Senior?

Anyone who is 59 years and older is eligible for seniors housing.

Could Other TCHC Services or Buildings be Moved Out of TCHC?

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.

Linking These Changes to Other City Initiatives

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.

Producing Phase 1 Recommendations

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.

Benefits for TCHC Tenants from These Recommendations

Tenants will benefit in a number of ways from the implementation of this plan:

  • Seniors in TCHC mixed buildings, as well as those who live in buildings run by the new provider will experience improved services.
  • TCHC will be in a better position to maintain buildings and to meet the needs of all of its tenants.
  • There will be better programs and services offered to TCHC tenants because of stronger partnerships with community agencies as well as the City.

In the short-term tenants will be engaged in the development of future phases.

Will Any Tenants Lose Their Home or Be Relocated?

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.

Communicating Recommendations to TCHC Tenants

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 staff, along with members of the Tenants First Tenant Advisory Panel held meetings with tenants in June 2017, January 2018, and May 2018.

Read what the tenants had to say at these meetings:

Details of future meetings will be posted on this page.