TCHC 2019 budget focuses on tenant and community safety, more tenant services and continued progress on building repairs
Toronto, Feb. 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Toronto Community Housing’s 2019 budget of $1.05-billion will drive continued improvements to housing and services for its 110,000 tenants. The budget was approved by the TCHC Board of Directors on February 5. It includes $422.6 million for capital, $601.2 million for operations and $21.9 million toward a proposed multi-year business transformation project.
Over the coming year, TCHC will invest in community safety, fire life safety and a range of tenant-facing services. It will continue to advance the City’s Tenants First plan through the implementation of the Interim Seniors Housing Unit and a refreshed Tenant Engagement System.
The 2019 budget maintains ongoing momentum of TCHC’s 10-year plan to deliver capital renewal projects to return all its buildings to a state of good repair by 2026.
Community safety and security
The 2019 operating budget allocates $13.3-million for additional community safety and security services. This funding will enable Toronto Community Housing to:
- Hire more Community Safety Unit staff, including special constables, to deliver expanded security and safety services. The TCHC board of directors will review a detailed proposal for how the additional CSU special constables will be deployed.
- Upgrade to a new third-party security services provider to better serve tenants’ needs across the city.
- Increase security, deter crime and help tenants feel safer in their communities by enhancing and upgrading physical infrastructure, adding security cameras and improving lighting and signage.
- Hire two technicians to support Toronto Police Service requests for security camera footage to investigate crimes that happen on or near TCHC properties.
In a related investment, Toronto Community Housing will hire more paralegals in 2019 to manage the increased number of cases brought to the Landlord and Tenant Board to pursue evictions of tenants who commit crimes on TCHC property or whose serious anti-social behaviours impact other tenants’ quiet enjoyment of their homes.
Fire life safety
Proactive inspections and building maintenance, plus expanded fire safety education delivered in partnership with Toronto Fire Services, contributed to positive trends in fire statistics in TCHC buildings in 2018. In a year-end update, Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg reported that fire code violations, the leading causes of fires and the number of significant fires all trended downward in 2018 compared with 2017.
Toronto Community Housing expanded its corporate fire life safety team in January 2018. The team works with the Facilities Management team and alongside frontline staff from Asset Management and Tenant & Community Services to ensure all TCHC buildings meet Ontario Fire Code standards and to create a culture of fire safety. The 2019 budget continues funding for in-house inspectors and for a fire life safety program educator to support tenant education on fire prevention and administer the fire alarm monitoring and response program.
Building capital renewal
TCHC will deliver a $313.1-million building capital renewal plan in 2019 to improve living conditions, safety, accessibility and comfort for tenants, produce greater energy efficiencies, and advance the goal of returning all TCHC buildings to a state of good repair by 2026. The budget also includes the approval of multi-year projects to maximize spending efficiency and realize best value for money.
Each year, TCHC updates its 10-year capital renewal plan to assess the repair backlog and forecast continued capital needs. Full funding and implementation of the 10-year plan is expected to return buildings to a state of good repair by 2026.
TCHC’s 2019 capital budget includes $109.5-million for development capital to fund ongoing work to renew and replace homes in Alexandra Park, Allenbury Gardens, 250 Davenport, Lawrence Heights, Leslie Nymark and Regent Park; in the newest revitalization site at Don Summerville; and in Jane-Firgrove, where TCHC is consulting extensively with tenants to develop a master plan to guide how best to rebuild and revitalize this community.
Seniors aged 59 and older make up 28 per cent of TCHC’s tenant population. Toronto Community Housing continues to work closely with the City of Toronto to move the Tenants First plan forward. Last May, we established an Interim Seniors Housing Unit after City Council approved recommendations in the Tenants First report about improving housing for all seniors. The unit oversees the seniors-designated buildings portfolio and services to all seniors living in other TCHC buildings.
The unit will continue to work in collaboration with the City, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and other organizations to create and implement an integrated service model that will promote aging in place, access to services, successful tenancies and better quality of life for all seniors living in TCHC buildings.
The TCHC board of directors will review a detailed proposal for hiring additional staff in the Interim Seniors Housing Unit.
Improving building conditions and tenant services
The 2019 operating budget includes an additional $3.5 million to enhance tenant services and building operations. With this funding, Toronto Community Housing will provide additional preventive maintenance for flood protection and life safety systems in its buildings, and deliver increased demand maintenance.
The 2019 budget includes continued funding for the intake specialist positions that review and support tenant applications for Crisis priority transfers. The positions were created in 2018 when Toronto Community Housing revamped its priority transfer process in response to recommendations by the Toronto Ombudsman.
TCHC’s tenant engagement system is a key lever in achieving our goal of creating vibrant communities that tenants are proud to call home. The system enables us to deliver on our Shareholder Direction, which outlines that TCHC maintain a democratic system of active tenant participation that provides for tenant input on decisions at the local and corporate levels.
In response to tenant feedback and recommendations in the Tenants First Phase I Implementation Plan, Toronto Community Housing committed to improving the existing tenant engagement system. In partnership with tenants, in 2018 Toronto Community Housing developed a model that will create more meaningful opportunities at the local, broader community and city-wide levels. The model is a foundation for work in 2019 to finalize and implement the refreshed tenant engagement system.
Toronto Community Housing will work with tenants in 2019 to organize and deliver tenant elections under its refreshed tenant engagement system.
TCHC will continue to invest in solutions to transform its business processes and systems to improve service to tenants. The board has approved an allocation of $21.9 million in the 2019 budget toward a multi-year project to put in place a fully supported integrated housing management solution. Staff will bring the contract award and project plan for approval at the February 27 board meeting. If approved, this one-time project will be realized over the next three years.
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada’s largest social housing landlord, providing homes for nearly 60,000 low and moderate-income households in neighbourhoods across the city. We are wholly owned by the City of Toronto and our 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.
CONTACT: TCHC Media Toronto Community Housing 416-737-1352 [email protected]