Annual Review 2008
Better services, improved operating results
In the spring of 2008, Toronto Community Housing embarked on an ambitious plan to reorganize how we deliver services to our customers—tenants, staff and community partners.
The focus was on streamlining our operations to ensure that our service delivery, decision making and staffing were focused at the building level. Our first step was to reduce the number of management staff and refocus the savings into hiring more front-line staff. Every site now has a dedicated staff person accountable for well-maintained buildings. The next step was to move from 27 Community Housing units to 13 Operating units staffed with a multi-disciplinary team. This integration of staff allows us to deliver on our mandate to provide quality housing to low and moderate income households and help create community conditions that minimize risk and promote resiliency.
The theme of integration is central to everything we do. We now service our customers through a one-stop shopping model. The building staff, including Superintendents, Custodians and Supervisors are the first point of contact for tenants and the community. They are part of a multi-disciplinary team made up of Tenant Service Co-ordinators, Customer Service Facilitators, Health Promotion Officers, Community Safety Promotion Officers, Youth Engagement Co-ordinators and Community Safety Patrol Officers.
We have also recognized the unique needs of seniors by creating a special directorate dedicated solely to their needs and developed a seniors' strategy, in consultation with tenants, staff and community agencies, to address the unique needs of seniors and how to best deliver services that meet their requirements.
Putting tenants first
Another major milestone of the 2008 reorganization was to enhance the Tenant Participation System. This evolutionary process included working with tenants to develop a new tenant engagement model that puts tenants first.
By working with tenants and establishing the Tenant Engagement Reference Committee— a group of tenants tasked with developing a new tenant engagement model, Toronto Community Housing was able to develop a new Tenant engagement System that expands tenant involvement beyond the formal governance structure. There will always be a role for elected tenant representatives in decision making at Toronto Community Housing. The goal was to expand the decision-making process to include other tenant leaders at the community level.
Building meetings are now the starting point not only for identifying gaps and deficiencies, but also for coming up with solutions in partnership with building staff. This empowerment of tenants where they live is designed to resolve day-to-day operational issues such as state of repair, cleanliness and maintenance. By resolving operational issues at the building level, tenants can now focus on more strategic issues at neighbourhood councils, such as advocacy, community economic development and building capacity.
In 2008, Toronto Community Housing continued advancing its green agenda through living its commitment to building and maintaining sustainable communities. Every dollar saved through energy consumption is another dollar we can invest in building great neighbourhoods.
In our continuing efforts to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing our consumption of water and energy, Toronto Community Housing embarked on several innovative and ground-breaking initiatives in 2008.
A joint venture between Toronto Community Housing and Corix utilities administers the Community Energy System in Regent Park. It will not only provide energy-efficient heating and cooling to all homes in the Regent Park revitalization when completed, but it is also scaleable to include outside customers and will incorporate renewable energy in the future.
At the end of 2008, Toronto Community Housing released its Real Estate Asset Investment Strategy, now known as Housing Works, to repair, retrofit, revitalize and replace our housing portfolio of over 58,000 housing units. Housing Works is a comprehensive, $1.5 billion plan to improve the quality of housing for our tenants and the city. It focuses on addressing the capital and infrastructure needs in our communities by establishing an index to set a building condition benchmark for the state of repair of our housing. This will guide the decisions we make about repairing, retrofitting, revitalizing and replacing our existing housing.
We continue to advocate to all three levels of government to provide sustainable and predictable levels of funding for social housing. In 2008, the City of Toronto committed $75 million in capital funding and the province contributed a further $36 million. We are grateful for the support and we are encouraged that sustainable funding for social housing will be acted on by our government partners.
We’re committed to improving our communities
At Toronto Community Housing, we are committed to continuous improvement. It is important to listen to our stakeholders to evaluate how we are doing. In 2008, we completed our biennial tenant survey. It provides an important snapshot of what tenants think of our service and the progress we are making on our Community Management Plan commitments.
The 2008 survey results reinforce that we are on the right track. Overall, our performance improved significantly in the delivery of tenant services. In fact, community pride—a combination of responses including belonging to the community, neighbourhood pride and sense of community—rose significantly to 65 points, an 11-point increase from 2006. This is a testament to our commitment to building safe and healthy communities.
- TCHC Annual Report 2008 application/pdf - 1460kb