City Council unanimously adopted the Tenants First Phase 1 Implementation Plan in July 2017. The City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) are working together to implement the plan's recommendations.
About Tenants First
Tenants First is a City of Toronto-led project that sets out to make improvements to TCHC and support it to become a more focused landlord. The overall focus of Tenants First is to implement a plan in which TCHC can improve tenants' lives through better service delivery, and by providing buildings in good repair and opportunities for tenants to be connected to appropriate services and actively participate in their communities.
City Council first adopted the Tenants First – A Way Forward for Toronto Community Housing and Social Housing Toronto report on July 12, 2016. This report included proposed changes to transform TCHC. In 2019, the Tenants First Project Team at the City of Toronto and the TCHC Resident Advisory Panel hosted various engagement activities across the city to consult with TCHC tenants on Tenants First recommendations and implementation plans.
TCHC supports Tenants First, and we are working closely with the Tenants First Project Team to implement the Tenants First project plan including:
The creation of the Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation to manage TCHC’s 83 seniors-designated buildings in June of 2022;
Established an interim process to select Tenant Directors for the Toronto Community Housing Board of Directors;
Tested new ways of delivering service to tenants through comprehensive pilot projects across the portfolio; and
Transferring 633 scattered housing units to two not-for-profit community land trusts: The Neighbourhood Land Trust and the Circle Community Land Trust.
TCHC continues to work with the Tenants First Project Management Team to transfer remaining agency houses, rooming houses, and scattered housing units to non-profit housing providers, co-ops and community land trusts.
For more information on Tenants First and the City Council reports that have informed the Tenants First plan to date, please visit the City of Toronto's Toronto Community Housing: Tenants First webpage or see our FAQ below.
Frequently asked questions
Is TCHC supportive of Tenants First?
TCHC supports the Tenants First project and we are committed to partnering with the City to implement the recommendations approved by City Council. We continue to work closely with the Tenants First Project Team on implementing Council's directions.
How will Tenants First impact tenants?
Tenants First is a City of Toronto-led project that sets out to make improvements to Toronto Community Housing and support it to become a more focused landlord. Tenants First outlines strategic directions aimed at enhancing TCHC's capacity to provide clean, safe, well-maintained homes for TCHC tenants and to help foster neighbourhoods where tenants have opportunities. It also identifies new service models that will help improve the financial sustainability of TCHC and enhance the quality of life for TCHC tenants.
Tenants First is about improving the lives of TCHC tenants through better service delivery, increased access to services, improved building conditions and strengthened tenant engagement.
No tenants will be moved or lose their subsidy because of Tenants First.
What changes will Tenants First have on TCHC?
As directed in the City Council approved report Tenants First – Phase 1 Implementation Plan and the supplementary Council approved reports, to date TCHC has made the following changes:
- creating the Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation to manage TCHC's 83 seniors-designated buildings and working with partners to design an integrated service model for seniors;
- establishing an interim process to select Tenant Directors for the Toronto Community Housing Board of Directors; and
- starting the process to transfer the 660 scattered housing portfolio to non-profit housing providers, co-ops and community land trusts.
Why did the City of Toronto create the Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation?
City Council approved the report, Implementing Tenants First - Creating a Seniors Housing Unit at Toronto Community Housing Corporation and Transitioning Towards a Seniors Housing and Services Entity at the City on May 22, 2018. This report directed TCHC to create an interim unit to manage seniors housing, and in response TCHC created the Interim Seniors Housing Unit which managed TCHC's portfolio of 83 seniors-designated buildings.
Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation was created in 2021 and began operating in June 2022. TCHC continues to own the buildings that TSHC operates.
How will the integrated service model impact senior tenants in senior-designated buildings and seniors living in family buildings?
The recommendations will improve access to services for all seniors living in TCHC. There will be better coordination of the services provided to seniors by organizations outside of TCHC and better alignment of senior-focused programs delivered by the City of Toronto, the provincial government and the federal government. All seniors living in TCHC will be better positioned to age in place.
How will the transfer of the scattered housing portfolio affect tenants?
On January 12, 2018, City Council approved the Implementing Tenants First – Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) Scattered Portfolio and an Interim Selection Process for Tenant Directors on the Toronto Community Housing Corporation Board report. The report directed TCHC to:
- transfer ownership and operation of TCHC's Agency Houses and Rooming Houses to qualified non-profit housing operators with expertise in providing vulnerable tenants, including people with a history of homelessness, with the supports they need for successful tenancies; and
- transfer the balance of TCHC's scattered portfolio 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 City of Toronto's Tenants First plan is intended to be a benefit for tenants as they will be transferred to a non-profit housing provider that specializes in managing smaller homes and delivering individualized services. The City's process ensures that tenants will not lose their housing or their subsidy.
How will the transfer of agency houses and rooming houses affect tenants?
The Tenant First initiative, also directed TCHC to transfer ownership and operation of TCHC's Agency Houses and Rooming Houses to qualified non-profit housing operators. Agency Homes refer to TCHC-owned houses that are currently leased by a non-profit corporation for a housing related purpose. Housing-related purposes include but are not limited to social housing, affordable housing, emergency shelter, transitional housing, providing housing or settlement services for newcomers, and providing housing in a variety of settings to vulnerable residents, including those that require supports. Rooming Houses refer to TCHC-owned houses with shared kitchen and/or washroom, occupied by four or more tenants, each of whom pays an individual rent. Both of these transfers have already begun and will continue throughout 2023. Tenants living in these properties will not lose their housing or their subsidy.
Did the City consult with tenants throughout the Tenants First process?
As part of the Tenants First process, the City of Toronto created the Tenants First Tenant Advisory Panel. The Tenants First Project Team and the Tenants First Tenant Advisory Panel have hosted various engagement activities across the city to consult with TCHC tenants on Tenants First recommendations and implementation plans.
The Tenants First Project Team also held information sessions for tenants in advance of each report for City Council.