Backgrounder: Toronto Community Housing response to Ombudsman's report

Backgrounder: Toronto Community Housing response to Ombudsman's report

January 26, 2018

Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) agrees with and supports the 21 recommendations made by Toronto Ombudsman Susan Opler in her report on TCHC’s priority transfer process, which is based on her investigation launched in April 2016. 

TCHC has committed to implementing all the recommendations, including working in partnership with the City of Toronto to establish a new Crisis priority transfer category and process by June 30, 2018.

Crisis priority category

  • The new Crisis category will have clearly defined and narrow criteria to enable TCHC to identify where a transfer is urgently needed because of a direct, immediate and acute risk to the health or safety of a member of the household.  
  • The Crisis priority category would rank second, below the current top category of Special Priority (used to relocate victims of abuse in their home) and above the current second priority, Overhoused, which would become the third priority. Medical and Safety at Risk transfers are the fourth-ranked priority in the current system.
  • TCHC will work with the City of Toronto, tenants, outside agencies and other stakeholders to clearly define the eligibility criteria and rules of procedure for the Crisis category. 

Rules of Procedures

  • TCHC will provide training and support for team members in assisting tenants directly and more substantially throughout the process.  
  • The new process will have clear rules of procedure for processing applications, making decisions and communicating the decisions to tenants with reasons. 
  • There will be clear rules for offering suitable units to households that are approved for a transfer, with a limited ability to refuse reasonable offers.  

Appeals, exceptions and immediate transfers

  • TCHC will determine the need for an appeals process and, if required, will develop and implement the process on a timely basis.
  • TCHC will carefully consider, in consultation with the City and outside agencies as appropriate, whether to allow or consider any exception-based transfers. 
  •  Once the new Crisis priority process is in place, all transfers will be made within the internal transfer process. 

Medical and Safety at Risk transfers

  • TCHC will evaluate available options to manage the existing Medical and Safety at Risk priority waiting list during the transition phase to the new Crisis priority process, with consideration to fairness to and needs of tenants.  
  • TCHC will appropriately communicate with households on the current Medical and Safety at Risk waiting lists about the creation of a new Crisis priority transfer process and the interim process it will use until the new process is in place.
  • TCHC will no longer operate the existing Medical and Safety at Risk priority application process once the Crisis priority process takes effect. 

Communications

  • In consultation with tenants, TCHC will develop a communications plan to educate tenants about the new Crisis priority—for example, the eligibility criteria, what evidence is needed to qualify for Crisis priority, how to apply, and what will happen once a household qualifies, including the process for relocation and how TCHC will help. 

Engaging our partners

  • TCHC will engage with the City of Toronto and other relevant agencies, such as Toronto Police Service (TPS), relevant medical consultants and community partners to inform both the development of the Crisis priority criteria, the process of assessing applications and the communication of decisions. 
  • TCHC will work with the City and TPS to clarify what information is needed from TPS and in what form (e.g., whether an application must include a written report). 

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About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest provider of social housing.  Wholly owned by the City of Toronto, we provide homes for nearly 60,000 low and moderate income households in neighbourhoods across the city. Our 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.

 

Media contact: 

TCHC media line 416-737-1352 or media@torontohousing.ca.