A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued today to initiate the transfer of Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s (TCHC) scattered portfolio of houses (single unit or multiple apartments within a house, scattered across the city) to non-profit housing providers, co-ops and community land trusts that are qualified to engage with tenants, improve the condition of the properties and retain the properties as affordable housing in perpetuity. The RFP covers 623 TCHC-owned houses, representing 730 units. Tenants living in the scattered housing portfolio will not lose their housing or their subsidy.
Toronto City Council in 2017 approved the Tenants First: Phase 1 Implementation Plan to restructure the operation, governance and funding of TCHC. Since then, the City and TCHC have been building a new relationship with the aim of improving services for tenants and protecting the value of the $10-billion social housing asset.
On January 31, 2018, City Council adopted Implementing Tenants First – TCHC Scattered Portfolio Plan and an interim selection process for tenant directors on the TCHC Board, which continues the Council-approved plan and includes the transfer of an identified group of TCHC properties. In addition to this RFP for the scattered portfolio, a process is already underway to transfer ownership and operation of TCHC’s agency houses and rooming houses to qualified non-profit housing operators.
The capital backlog associated with the scattered portfolio properties, as of the end of 2016, was $33.9 million. TCHC spends approximately $6 million annually in building repair capital on this portfolio. By removing these scattered houses from TCHC’s portfolio, there will be a reduction in the overall capital repair backlog and future capital requirements, as those costs will be transferred with the properties to the new housing providers.
As part of the terms of the transfer, the City will continue to fund the new housing providers to deliver social housing. The funding cost and financial impact to the City will be dependent on the operating agreements negotiated as part of the RFP process which will be considered by Toronto City Council in 2020 as part of a comprehensive transfer plan.
The RFP will be issued to non-profit housing organizations, including housing co-operatives and community land trusts. Proponents will need to present a viable business case and demonstrate a willingness to work within a changing social housing sector, build capacity over time and work closely with other organizations. Accountability tools are outlined in the RFP and City staff will conduct a detailed financial and risk assessment of the transfer of this portfolio, including assessment of individual properties. The proponents’ plans must ensure that adequate capital and operating funds are available from federal, provincial, City or private sources to provide for a state of good repair and ongoing, long-term financial viability. The City will continue to have a strong oversight role in the operations of the social housing assets through operating agreements with the housing providers.
A joint review panel made up of TCHC and City staff will make the recommendations about successful transferee agencies. Council will consider the recommendations in 2020 as part of the comprehensive proposed transfer plan, before approving the award of the RFP. If approved, it is expected that the houses will be transferred starting in 2020 through to 2022.
The RFP closes at noon on January 29, 2020. More information about the RFP and process can be found at https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/affordable-housing-partners/open-requests-for-proposals/.
“The RFP is the next step in the process of modernizing our housing portfolio to achieve better quality of life for tenants and establish a more sustainable funding model. The transfer of a public asset of this magnitude to the non-profit sector is significant, however this process is grounded in best practices, thorough planning and a strong accountability framework.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The beginning of the transfer process is an important milestone. The transfer of the scattered housing portfolio will free up resources for TCHC to focus on its core portfolio, while improving the condition of these properties and retaining them as affordable housing.”
– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Ward 9 Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee
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