TORONTO, April 2, 2014 — President and Chief Executive Officer Gene Jones released this statement today following City Council's adoption of the Toronto Ombudsman's report on Toronto Community Housing's progress in implementing recommendations from the 2013 Housing at Risk report.
We thank the Ombudsman for her report and insights on how Toronto Community Housing can drive systemic change to improve our treatment of seniors and vulnerable persons facing eviction for rent arrears.
We are serious about the Ombudsman's report and will complete all the improvements she has identified by the end of 2014, if not sooner.
The staff task force assigned to implement the changes recommended by the Ombudsman diligently continues its work, and we will continue to work collaboratively with the Ombudsman and her office until we have met the intent of all 30 recommendations.
Our goals remain the same: excellent customer service, consistent eviction prevention practices, and increased support for seniors and vulnerable residents.
While we still have more work to do to reach all of our goals, we are making progress:
- We have re-engineered all business processes subject to the Ombudsman's recommendations, including new processes that focus on early intervention in order to prevent the accumulation of high arrears. We will train staff on how to implement the new processes in 2014.
- We have developed standards that measure how well staff manage the new processes and develop solutions that work for each resident.
- We have created the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity, the first of its kind in North America, to support housing stability for seniors and vulnerable persons. The new commissioner, Cynthia Summers, began reviewing resident files on April 1st.
- We are developing an information-sharing agreement with Toronto Employment and Social Services to facilitate coordinated support for Ontario Works clients facing eviction for arrears or loss of RGI subsidy.
- We are partnering with the Canada Revenue Agency, the City of Toronto, and the Province of Ontario on a pilot project to test automated income verification for seniors on fixed incomes.
We agree with the Ombudsman that we must continue to build fair and consistent processes, and that we must support our staff and residents in order to implement these changes effectively and compassionately.
We are committed to being more responsive to the needs of residents experiencing vulnerability, consistent with our strategic plan goal to put residents at the heart of everything we do.
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca
) is Canada's largest social housing provider, and home to 58,500 households with low and moderate incomes. By providing clean, safe, well-maintained and affordable homes, Toronto Community Housing delivers better homes, better neighbourhoods and a better Toronto for all.
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