Access Policy Development Tool for Alternative Housing Providers
Developed by the City of Toronto
The Housing Services Act (HSA) requires housing providers to fill Rent-Geared-to-Income vacancies from the centralized waiting list [HSA s. 47 & O. Reg. 367/11 s.45-51]. In Toronto, the centralized waiting list is maintained by the City of Toronto. Under the HSA, an alternative housing provider does not have to use this list if it has a written access policy agreed to by the City.
An access policy is a written description of how an alternative housing provider fills its vacant units. An alternative housing provider is one with a mandate to provide housing to households that are homeless or hard to house [HSA O. Reg. 367/11 s.49].
Access to RGI housing must be handled in a fair and consistent manner. Having a documented Access Plan provides justification for decisions relating to access.
Considerations in developing an access policy
- Does your mandate apply to all of your units/projects?
- Will you keep your own waiting list? If yes, address the following:
- How do applicants get on your waiting list?
- How will the waiting list be maintained?
- Will it be chronological, or ordered in another way?
- Will there be any priorities?
- How will you ensure that applicants on your waiting list can be contacted?
- Which staff position(s) will determine eligibility for RGI and maintain your wailing list?
- Will another agency keep your waiting list for you? If yes, address the following:
How will you ensure that applicants referred to you are eligible for social housing? [HSA s. 42 O. Reg. 367/11, s. 23-32, Eligibility Rules]
If you will not keep a waiting list, describe in detail how households will access your housing (see Agency Agreements).
- Will you have a written agreement with an agency to refer applicants or will the agency sign a head-lease for units?
- How will you ensure the agency is complying with the HSA with respect to client eligibility?
- On what basis would you refuse to house an applicant?
- How would the decision be communicated, and what would be the time frames?
- What is your internal review process for an applicant who has been refused?
- Who reviews the request, how is the decision communicated, and what are the time frames for the review?
- Have you addressed the rules found in the HSA? An easy reference to ensure compliance is the RGI Guide, Chapter 8, page 9