Getting it done- Real change at Toronto Community Housing

Getting it done- Real change at Toronto Community Housing

September 11, 2015

TORONTO - Toronto Community Housing presented the Getting it done report on September 10, 2015 to Mayor John Tory and the Task Force on Toronto Community Housing. The report contains over 70 initiatives to produce tangible and sustained improvements in the areas of safety and security, building conditions, jobs and opportunities for residents, and customer service by the end of 2015 and into 2016.


Initiatives already in place or underway


Safety and security

  • Partnering with Toronto Crime Stoppers to help educate residents about reporting crime anonymously and the need to report suspected criminal activity on Toronto Community Housing property to support arrests and evictions


Building conditions

  • 60 new cleaners hired in August are fully trained and at work in Toronto Community Housing buildings, 25 of them in high-needs buildings
  • 19,700 major capital repairs have been completed as part of the $2.6 billion 10-year capital repair plan
  • The Capital Repairs Tracker on Toronto Community Housing's website (repairs.torontohousing.ca) reports monthly on the progress of all capital repair projects by repair type and location
  • The highly successful 291 George building transformation model has been extended to other similar high-needs communities housing a disproportionate number of residents living with mental health issues
  • 200 front-line Tenant Services Coordinators and Community Services Coordinators have received specialized training in working with vulnerable residents in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association
  • The new pest management program is in its second year, with the volume of treatments up by 74 per cent while costs per treatment and the number of needed treatments per infestation are both down


Jobs and opportunities for residents

  • Over 730 jobs for local residents have been created through contract requirements of private sector Revitalization partners to target 10 per cent resident employment
  • Contracts for goods and services under $100,000 can now be directly awarded to resident-led businesses


Customer service

  • The 24/7 Client Care Centre has undergone major service improvements, including reducing average call wait times from a high of six minutes in February 2015 to as low as one minute in May 2015
  • All new staff members are required to take enhanced customer service training (enhanced training for current employees will begin in 2016)

Initiatives in place by the end of 2015


Safety and security

  • 18 additional Community Patrol Officers will be on the job
  • A new deployment model for Community Patrol Officers will see them permanently assigned to one of 20 patrol zones, resulting in more time in communities with residents
  • Should suggested changes to provincial legislation be enacted, Toronto Community Housing will be better equipped to aggressively pursue evictions for cause
  • 521 of Toronto Community Housing's 5,500 security cameras will be upgraded to digital, with 50 additional cameras installed in 17 communities
  • 10 additional safety audits will be carried out in communities with major safety concerns to identify improvements or modifications that can be made to deter crime


Building conditions

  • Rebates will be provided to 1,200 rent-geared-to-income households who pay for their own electric heating
  • A new centralized repair dispatch system will ensure the best vendor for the job is sent out to complete a repair, and that the scope of work is clear so that vendors' performance can be easily assessed
  • After-hours building access will be improved for contractors repairing elevators, and measures will be in place to reset elevators more quickly after fire alarms
  • New Requests for Proposals and contracts for property management services for contract managed buildings will include tighter controls on service providers to ensure they deliver on their service commitments


Jobs and opportunities for residents

  • 15 per cent of current Toronto Community Housing employees, including in senior management roles, are residents or former residents; however, new initiatives will try to increase this number
  • Training sessions will be held for residents to better prepare them to apply for jobs with Toronto Community Housing, and a new tracking system will enable applicants to request that new job postings be emailed to them


Customer service

  • The Closing the Loop program will be extended to 10,000 residents by the end of 2015 (and city-wide by end of 2016, subject to budget approval); this program contacts residents after repairs are made in their homes so they can rate the quality of repairs and customer service
  • The contractor/vendor management program is being strengthened to better monitor the quality of work and vendor performance
  • Resident consultations are taking place throughout the fall to renew the resident engagement system and create a Resident Charter
  • Client Care Centre staff will receive expanded customer service training
  • A Request for Proposals will be issued to retain a specialized vendor with expertise in developing and delivering effective customer service training programs

If new funding can be secured

If Toronto Community Housing can secure new funding through our 2016 budget process, directly from the City, through partnerships or a fully funded capital repair plan, we will:

  • Hire 94 new Community Safety Unit staff, beginning in June 2016
  • Make further upgrades to building security systems and CCTV cameras
  • Replace 140 elevators in urgent need of repair or replacement
  • Hire more Community Services Coordinators who will work to connect vulnerable residents with excessive clutter and vulnerability issues to the supports they need
  • Work with private sector partners to revitalize 11 existing facilities to transform them into community hubs at locations city-wide


Other Task Force recommendations

The Getting it done report highlights Toronto Community Housing's efforts to secure more funding for capital repairs and spend the dollars we do have wisely, including:

  • Working with the City of Toronto on federal and provincial advocacy through the Close the Housing Gap campaign
  • Launching pilots for the ReSet capital repairs delivery strategy
  • Providing updates on Toronto Community Housing's progress in delivering its 10-year capital repair program through the online Capital Repairs Tracker

The report commits Toronto Community Housing to consulting with residents in 2015 to create a Resident Charter and complete a review of the resident engagement system to improve how residents participate in decision-making about their communities and about improving services.

The report addresses the Task Force's recommendation about hiring a Chief Operating Officer, noting that the Interim President and CEO will bring a recommendation to begin a process to hire for this position to the Governance, Risk, Communications, Human Resources and Compensation Committee of the board at its September 28, 2015 meeting.


About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing (torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest provider of social housing, delivering homes for nearly 60,000 households with low and moderate incomes. By working to provide clean, safe, well-maintained and affordable housing, Toronto Community Housing builds better homes, better neighbourhoods and a better Toronto for all. ​

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