Tenant and Community Services Committee (TCSC) Meeting - May 25, 2012
May 25, 2012
Ground Floor Boardroom
931 Yonge Street, Toronto
Archived meeting. See Agenda and Minutes below.
Chair’s Poll re: Conflict of Interest
Confirmation of Tenant & Community Services Committee Public Minutes – March 26, 2012
Business Arising from the Minutes and Committee Action Item List
Approval of Agenda and Review of Agenda Order
Review of Agenda (all items not held will be voted together without discussion)
- Q1 2012 Quarterly Performance and Progress Reports
- Household in Arrears
- Tenant Evictions
- Anti-Social Behaviour Occurrences
- Non-Maintenance Service Request Resolution Time
- Repairs Request Resolution Time
- 2012 Tenant Survey Results
- Tenant Engagement
- Summary of Ombudsman’s Inquiries and Investigations for Q1/2012
- Community Safety Strategy - Community Standards Demonstration Pilots Evaluation Report
- CCTV Usage and Procedures at TCHC
Closed Meeting Agenda Items
Chair’s Poll re: Conflict of Interest
A. Confirmation of Tenant and Community Services Committee In Camera Minutes – March 26, 2012
Business Arising from the In Camera Minutes and Committee Action Item List
Approval of Agenda and Review of Agenda Order
Review of Agenda (all items not held will be voted together without discussion)
B. Confidential item respecting the business of the corporation
Public Meeting Minutes
The Tenant and Community Services Committee of Toronto Community Housing Corporation met on May 25, 2012, in the Main Floor Conference Room, 931 Yonge Street, commencing at 9:12 a.m.
Committee Directors present:
Councillor Cesar Palacio, Chair Munira Abukar, Vice Chair
Councillor Frances Nunziata
Additional Directors present:
Ms. Catherine Wilkinson
Mina Bahgat, Manager, Community Engagement
Mary Boushel, Manager, Successful Tenancies
Steve Floros, Community Housing Director - Central
Nadia Gouveia, Social Investment Fund Coordinator
Michelle Haney-Kileeg, General Manager
Kemi Jacobs, Director Property Management
Len Koroneos, Chief Executive Officer (Interim)
Janice Lewkoski, Board Secretary
Deborah Simon, Chief Operating Officer
Terry Skelton, Director Community Safety
Councillor Cesar Palacio, the Chair, called the meeting to order and Mirela Bolentiru served as recording secretary.
Declaration of Conflict of Interest
The Chair requested members of the Tenant and Community Services Committee to indicate any agenda item in which they had a conflict of interest, together with the nature of the interest. None were declared.
Confirmation of Agenda
The Tenant and Community Services Committee approved the agenda as presented.
The Committee Chair polled for any deputations to be heard at the meeting and explained the deputation process. He noted that one written deputation for agenda item 3 “Tenant Engagement” was received prior to the meeting and three deputants wishing to provide verbal deputations on agenda item 3, and one deputant wishing to provide a verbal deputation on agenda item 5 “Community Safety Strategy – Community Standards Demonstration Pilots Evaluation Report”.
Minutes – Confirmation of Tenant & Community Services Committee Public Minutes – March 26, 2012
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Frances Nunziata, seconded by Ms. Munira Abukar, the Tenant and Community Services Committee confirmed the above-captioned minutes and recommended they be forwarded to the Board of Directors for information.
Business Arising from the Minutes and Action Item List
Ms. Catherine Wilkinson pointed out that staff has not yet provided the Committee with the results of the CCTV audit with respect to report TCSC:2011-14 “Community Safety Initiatives – Status Update”. She further requested that staff clarify the usage of cameras, their placement and the procedures followed for implementation. In response, Ms. Deborah Simon informed the Committee that staff provided a response with respect to the placement of cameras in a closed meeting.
The Committee Chair noted that he had a discussion last night with Councillor Crisanti, who has not yet received a response to his April 2012 letter. Councillor Crisanti indicated that he will be attending the June 22, 2012 Board of Directors meeting to make a presentation on this matter.
The Committee Chair also mentioned that while at the City meetings recommendations are part of the decision, he feels that the recommendations from this Committee are not being noted in the reports and they are not being addressed. He further noted that he expects a response to each question or recommendation. In response, Ms. Deborah Simon informed the Committee that all the recommendations from the Committee are being brought forward in the form of the Action Item List. Councillor Palacio will provide staff with a list with all recommendations in question.
Item 1 – Q1 2012 Quarterly Performance and Progress Reports, TCSC:2012-16
The Tenant and Community Services Committee had before it the above-captioned report (TCSC:2012-16) from the Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Ms. Catherine Wilkinson asked for a list comprising the top 10 work orders as well as bed bug split out on every future quarterly report.
The Vice Chair noted an error on page 3 of the report in Business Impact / Implications, where instead of three factors that determined a significant decrease in arrears in Q1 2012, there were listed only two factors. She further noted that agencies that rent units are not aggressive enough in collecting and repatriating rent, which is contributing to increased arrears in some buildings. The Vice Chair raised a question whether this is applicable for management only or to new agencies as well. In response, Ms. Deborah Simon informed the Committee that in general, it applies to referral agreement agencies and does not refer to contract management. She further confirmed that there was an editing typo as to the number of factors listed: there should be two factors listed, not three.
Councillor Nunziata noted that in 2012 the antisocial behaviour showed an increase. She further raised the issue of not getting an update on the outcome of the Town Hall meetings with respect to the tenants’ complaints and the actions taken against antisocial behaviour and criminal activity. She noted that she has a list of apartments where drug dealers reside creating problems in the area for all other residents. She further raised a question with respect to the eviction proceedings against those drug dealers. In response, Ms. Deborah Simon emphasized the importance of people coming forward to report to staff acts of antisocial behaviour. While she cannot provide details with respect to eviction procedures of the Landlord and Tenant Board, she can provide the stage of the proceedings. Councillor Nunziata will provide the list with the apartments in question regarding 1901 Weston Road and she requested that staff provide an update until all those complaints are addressed.
The Committee Chair made recommendations at a prior meeting with respect to successful tenancies and eviction prevention that he cannot locate them as recorded by staff. He further requested that staff bring forward those recommendations to the June 22, 2012 Board meeting. In response, Ms. Deborah Simon informed the Committee that all recommendations received were recorded in the Action Item List and documented by staff. She further explained to the Committee that the recommendation regarding arrears was made at the last meeting of March 26, 2012 and staff are preparing a report on arrears for presentation to the Committee at a future meeting.
While the Vice Chair agreed with action be taken against acts of antisocial behaviour, she requested that the investigation be impartial as laws are in place to protect both parties. She further requested that written notification be given to those alleged people and the information be brought to the Board of Directors. Ms. Deborah Simon confirmed that the information will neither be shared publicly, nor violate anybody’s privacy.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Frances Nunziata, seconded by Councillor Cesar Palacio, the Tenant and Community Services Committee received the report with the following recommendation and moved to forward the report with performance measures that are below target to the Board of Directors for information.
The Committee Chair requested that any recommendations made by the Committee be recorded and responses from staff provided at the next meeting.
Item 2 – 2012 Tenant Survey Results, TCSC:2012-17
The Tenant and Community Services Committee had before it the above-captioned report (TCSC:2012-17) from the Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Susan Gapka and Miguel Avila provided verbal deputations in relation to this item.
The Vice Chair did not agree with the staff’s recommendation that the methodology for future surveys remain telephone. She recommended the paper format for the survey. In response, Mr. Hugh Lawson presented the Committee with the rationale for using telephone survey versus paper format, as mentioned on pages 4 and 5 of the report:
- Consistency in methodology used in the past (2008 survey) and by other agencies;
- Paper format might be problematic for those tenants with low literacy skills;
- Risk of errors in responses is higher in paper format due to lack of understanding of written questions;
- Industry wise, the telephone survey is considered a better quality survey.
The Vice Chair noted that having any cap on methodology used is not beneficial to tenants. A methodology reaching only on one category of demographics cannot be used. She further suggested that in order to get a perspective of the community, less expensive online options should be explored, such as Facebook. In response, Mr. Hugh Lawson explained to the Committee that Ipsos Reid recommended that future work be done around focus groups, town hall meetings, etc. The City initiated a paper survey for stand-alone units. There is not enough penetration of the Internet among tenants, but it is an option.
The Committee Chair noted that with respect to demographics, the Corporation has the largest level of diversity in the city.
The Committee Chair did not agree with the telephone survey and requested that next tenant survey be done in paper format, to gather real and better feedback and to make tenants feel that they are part of the process. He further provided supplementary written recommendations to the Committee.
The Vice Chair noted the importance of the tenant committees, such as TERC. She further requested that a copy of the final report including findings be provided to the tenant committees. In response, Mr. Hugh Lawson informed the Committee that he will consider this recommendation and will prepare a response on its implementation, as well as the financial impact involved. The Committee Chair recommended that the response should also include the benefits, not only the costs.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Cesar Palacio, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata, the Tenant and Community Services Committee resolved to discuss and receive the report and to forward it to the Board of Directors for information, subject to the following supplementary recommendations.
- Tenant survey be conducted on annual basis in the first quarter of each year.
- Management to pursue a more cost effective paper format for Tenant Surveys and explore use of the ONPHA Tenant Survey, which is specifically designed for Social Housing providers. In keeping up with our mandate to actively promote tenant engagement, promote city-wide tenant inclusion in the development of the Tenant Survey.
- Communications staff to work closely with tenants and members of Council to creating posters to actively promote tenant participation in the Tenant Survey.
- Seek agreement with tenant representatives/leaders to deliver Tenant Surveys door-to-door in their communities, increasing tenant sense of ownership over the Tenant Survey and reducing costs to the Corporation.
- Draft survey as agreed upon by tenants and staff to be presented to the Committee, along with proposed support materials, for approval prior to carrying out the annual Tenant Survey.
- Provide final findings to the Tenant and Community Services Committee.
- Forward this to the Board of Directors.
Item 3 – Tenant Engagement, TCSC:2012-18
The Tenant and Community Services Committee had before it the above-captioned report (TCSC:2012-18) from the Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Lela Garyfalow provided a written deputation in relation to this item.
Mabel Ernest, Susan Gapka, Miguel Avila, Sygna Estephan (tenant representative) and Catherine Wallace (tenant representative), provided verbal deputations in relation to this item.
The Committee Chair noted that all Town Hall meetings have been held. He requested that a report on the Town Hall meetings come forward at the next Committee meeting, in conjunction with tenant engagement. Direct input from tenants is highly encouraged.
Councillor Frances Nunziata amended the request proposed by the Committee Chair as follows:
- the minutes from the Town Hall meetings will be brought forward at the next Committee meeting as part of the tenant engagement item.
Ms. Catherine Wilkinson thanked tenants for attending the meeting and specified that she sat on the previous TERC that created the current engagement model. She further noted that the current Board of Directors knows nothing about tenant engagement process and therefore, it needs to be educated firstly in this respect. In response to a question raised by the Committee with respect to the role and activities of the tenant representatives, Ms. Catherine Wilkinson informed the Committee that none of the Board members are aware of what the functions of tenant representatives are. Ms. Catherine Wilkinson further explained that being a tenant is the only requirement for being part of the engagement process. She further noted that recommendation no. (8), proposed by the Tenant Engagement Reference Committee (TERC) on May 15, 2012, refers to increasing the number of current central staff-tenant work groups. The money, time and resources should not be spent on discussion about what staff should do. Staff engagement model should be addressed before the tenant engagement model. Clarification from the City is needed with respect to what the staff’s expectations are in order to have better communities.
The Committee Vice Chair noted that staff needs more time to work with tenants. It is important to respect the people TCHC serves. The Corporations’ big issue is lack of longevity of the staff. As a member of TERC, she commended staff for its accomplishments in tenant engagement process. She further recommended that staff engagement is needed as an overall staff change. She wants to build confidence in tenants that the Corporation is following up on the issues brought forward at the Town Hall meetings.
In response to a question raised by the Committee with respect to an increased number of Community Health managers, Health Promotion Officers and Central Health Unit staff (some of those costs may be saved and used as services for tenants), management informed the Committee that there is only one Central Health Unit and four community health teams (one per directorate), each with a community health manager and a team health promotion officers. In 2008, this structure was lastly reviewed and the Health Promotion Officer moved to the Operating Unit. Councillor Frances Nunziata recommended that the structure needs to be again reviewed. She further noted that tenants do not know their own tenant representatives as they are not properly communicated to all tenants. In the building at 1901 Weston Road (Councillor Frances Nunziata’s ward) the tenant representatives are not so involved and she would like them to be.
The Committee Chair expressed his concerns for duplication of services. He recommended maximizing productivity by bringing efficiencies forward. Any money that could be saved should be directed to services for tenants. The rules have changed and while there is a financial crisis at TCHC, tenants are now hosting events in the buildings. As an example, within Pelham Park “Going Green t Initiative”, the tenants are taking ownership while they are committed 100% to do the work. Tenants should be part of the decision making process. There are budget and appeal processes. The Committee Chair further noted that he has not received any responses to his recommendations of October 2011. He further noted the issue of a lack of community space. It is not acceptable for a complex with 800 people to have no space to meet and socialize.
Ms. Deborah Simon thanked everyone for their comments. The tenant election process needs to go forward and this motion will defer the elections. The election process has to be held in fall. Councillor Frances Nunziata informed the Committee that tenants agreed to defer the election process. The Committee Vice Chair noted that the tenants do not feel ready for the election process.
The election process being deferred, staff asked for clarification with respect to the role of the current tenant representatives. Councillor Frances Nunziata confirmed that the current tenant representatives will continue in their role until new tenant representatives are elected.
Ms. Catherine Wilkinson emphasized the importance of understanding of what the election process is and its democratic course.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Frances Nunziata, seconded by Councillor Cesar Palacio, the Tenant and Community Services Committee resolved to defer the approval of the proposed 2012 Tenant Engagement proposal, including deferral of the tenant elections, for further information to be provided by staff that includes the following:
- The CHU (Community Health Unit) to provide the TCSC with an understanding of the department responsibilities at TCH including organization charts.
- How Tenant Engagement is delivered in accordance with shareholder direction?
- At what cost is tenant engagement carried out at TCHC?
- Direct benefits and deliverables to TCHC and our communities.
- Examples of other social housing providers’ tenant engagement models.
- Direct staff to bring forward the minutes of the Town Hall meetings to the July TCSC meeting.
The current tenant representatives will continue in their positions until the deferred elections are held.
Item 4 – Summary of Ombudsman’s Inquiries and Investigations for Q1/2012, TCSC:2012-19
The Tenant and Community Services Committee had before it the above-captioned report (TCSC:2012-19) from the Interim Chief Executive Officer.
In response to a question raised, management confirmed that there is a system in place to record the tenant complaints received.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Frances Nunziata, seconded by Councillor Cesar Palacio, the Tenant and Community Services Committee requested that the Ombudsman attend a future Board of Directors meeting to make a deputation on the presentation made at the City Council and that there be a report to the Board on tenant complaints, as well as at the Committee level.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Cesar Palacio, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata, the Tenant and Community Services Committee unanimously received the report for information and recommended that the report be forwarded to the Board of Directors.
Item 5 – Community Safety Strategy - Community Standards Demonstration Pilots Evaluation Report, TCSC:2012-20
The Tenant & Community Services Committee had before it the above-captioned report (TCSC:2012-20) from the Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Susan Gapka provided a verbal deputation in relation to this item.
The Committee Chair emphasized the importance of community health safety and controls, as well as prevention. He also noted that there is overlapping of costs, resources, etc. There will be held Town Hall meetings more than once a year.
The Committee Chair recommended that the report be deferred and be brought concurrently with the report on the Town Hall meetings at the July Committee meeting. There were no changes requested to the report.
The Vice Chair requested that if there are any changes in the meantime, they will be provided to the Committee.
Ms. Catherine Wilkinson requested that the community work plan and community safety strategy be discussed at the July Committee meeting as they have been deferred. The community safety item should be discussed as long as there is crime and antisocial behaviour in communities. The incidents keep occurring, while the issue has not yet been cleared.
The Committee Chair requested that a complete package with all complaints received at the Town Hall meetings, together with a set of recommendations be provided to the Committee at the next meeting.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Cesar Palacio, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata, the Tenant and Community Services Committee resolved to defer the report and to refer the report back to the Committee with information collected at the Town Hall Meetings.
Item 6 – CCTV Usage and Procedures at TCHC, TCSC:2012-21
The Tenant and Community Services Committee had before it the above-captioned report (TCSC:2012-21) from the Interim Chief Executive Officer.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Cesar Palacio, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata, the Tenant and Community Services Committee resolved to refer this report to the June 22, 2012 Board of Directors meeting for information and invite Councillor Crisanti to make a presentation on this item at the meeting.
Closed Meeting Proceedings
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Cesar Palacio, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata, the Tenant and Community Services Committee resolved to meet in closed meeting at 11:34 a.m. to consider items A and B.
At 11:46 a.m. the Chair announced the resumption of the public proceedings and the public meeting reconvened at that time.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Cesar Palacio, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata, the Tenant and Community Services Committee ratified the actions authorized during the closed meeting.
ON MOTION DULY MADE by Councillor Cesar Palacio, seconded by Councillor Frances Nunziata, the meeting of the Tenant and Community Services Committee was terminated at 11:47 a.m.