Following City Council's approval of the Tenants First report on seniors housing in May 2018, Toronto Community Housing established an Interim Seniors Housing Unit to better manage the 83 seniors-designated buildings in our portfolio and meet the needs of seniors living in our communities.
Among the first tasks for the unit's general manager, Joan White, were to develop a 90-day action plan and a 2019 business plan.
A strong believer in the adage, "Nothing about us without us," Joan spent her first 90 days reaching out to tenants, including the Seniors Advisory and Advocacy Council (SAAC), to get their input and feedback on the business plan.
"I met with the council to discuss what their needs were and to see if our business plan aligns with their needs," said Joan. "I wanted to make sure there were no gaps between what we thought we needed to do as an organization, and the needs of tenants."
Anita Dressler, chair of the SAAC, supported Joan's approach to include the group in the development of the business plan. She noted that the council's role as an advisory group to Joan and her team has enabled them to provide "feedback and suggestions that will improve the quality of life for seniors."
Joan and the SAAC jointly presented the business plan to tenants living in seniors buildings across the city. The presentations educated seniors on the business plan, outlined the unit's four key priorities and provided senior tenants with information on supports and resources.
"The tenants are very happy with Joan," said Valentyna, a member of SAAC. "They appreciate that she comes out to meet them, and we are starting to see improvements in how tenants' issues are addressed."
Toronto Community Housing will implement the business plan in 2019 and continue to work with the City to develop an integrated service model for seniors housing that will promote aging in place, better quality of life, and successful tenancies for seniors.
Read more stories like this in the 2018 Annual Report.