This backgrounder provides information on next steps of the Tenants First plan scheduled to go before Executive Committee on January 24, 2018. Pending decisions at Executive Committee, this report will go to City Council for consideration at its next meeting from January 31 to February 2, 2018.

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 provider, where buildings are in a good state of repair, and tenants are connected to appropriate services and are 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.

Phase 1 recommendations were guided by the Tenants First report and by input from the Tenants First Tenant Advisory Panel. They were unanimously approved by Council in July 2017. There were 11 recommendations included in Phase 1; the four key recommendations were:

  • 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 (approximately 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.
  • Adequate funding, through a proposed new funding model, for both TCHC and the proposed new Seniors Housing and Services entity.
  • Creation of a plan to transfer scattered housing portfolio to non-profit housing providers while ensuring that affordability is maintained.

What is Being Recommended?

The recommendations in the current report are the next steps towards implementing Tenants First Phase 1.

  • Allow non-profit providers (by way of RFP) to:
    • Assume management and ownership of rooming houses (22).
    • Oversee and manage building operations of scattered houses (660).
  • Transform 22 rooming houses into 204 units of supportive housing.
  • Adopt a new interim process to select tenant directors to the TCHC Board.

Benefits of These Recommendations

If approved and once fully implemented, these recommendations will benefit TCHC tenants in the following ways:

  • TCHC will be in a better position to maintain buildings and to meet the needs of all of its tenants.
  • Tenants in rooming houses will receive appropriate supports.
  • Tenants in scattered houses will receive improved services.
  • Tenants will maintain their voice on the TCHC Board.

This report is also closely aligned with Housing Opportunities Toronto Today, TO Prosperity: Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy, Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020, and Toronto Newcomer Strategy.

Next Steps

If approved by Executive Committee, and then Council, the Tenants First team will begin work on the following;

  • Rollout of a process for selecting applicants to tenant director positions on the TCHC Board starting February 5. Recommendations for Board member placements would then be presented during April Council.
  • An RFP for coordination of support for rooming house tenants would be issued in Q1 of 2018.
  • An RFP would be issued to non-profit providers for 660 scattered houses. A report with recommendations would be presented to Council in 2019.

In addition, the Tenants First team will continue work with Toronto Community Housing on implementing the Tenants First plan and will return to Executive Committee, and then Council, in Q2 of 2018. The team is then expected to bring forward recommendations related to the TCHC seniors portfolio.

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Media contact: Eric Holmes, Strategic Communications, 416-392-2708, eric.holmes@toronto.ca