TCHC recognized by R-PATH for its support of tenants living with physical disabilities

TCHC recognized by R-PATH for its support of tenants living with physical disabilities

January 06, 2021

A photo of CEO Kevin Marshman (left), Cathy Birch (middle) and COO Sheila Penny (right). All three individuals are wearing masks

Toronto Community Housing recognized for commitment to improve quality of life for tenants living with physical disabilities, investing $20 million in accessibility upgrades in 2020 and working with R-PATH members to improve lives

TORONTO, January 6, 2021—Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) is grateful for the recognition it received in 2020 from the tenant-led Responsible Personal Accessibility in Toronto Housing (R-PATH) Committee. R-PATH has again recognized TCHC's leaders and staff for their commitment to improving quality of life for tenants living with physical disabilities. 

At a ceremony held recently at TCHC's 931 Yonge headquarters (which followed all COVID-19 safety protocols) R-PATH founder and chair Cathy Birch presented the committee's 2020 Accessibility Awards to President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Marshman, Chief Operating Officer Sheila Penny and Vice President, Facilities Management Allen Murray and his team.

The committee, which includes Ms. Birch, Lene Andersen, Amanda Boudreau, Jane Donohue and Joe Knapper, gave Kevin Marshman the Accessible Housing Executive Leadership Award in recognition of his support for the growth of TCHC's accessibility program.

Since 2013, when R-PATH began working with TCHC, the company's annual investment in accessibility upgrades has grown tenfold, to $20.1 million in 2020.

"R-PATH has been an incredible and tireless advocate for the rights and needs of TCHC tenants who are living with disabilities," said Marshman. "As a result, many tenants have rolled into their recently renovated units." He also praised the R-PATH members for the significant amount of time they devote to their work with TCHC staff and said he appreciates their candid sharing of their lived experience to help the company make the most accessible communities possible.

"In terms of working toward a common goal, I think the R-PATH–TCHC relationship is probably one of the best partnerships I've seen," Marshman said.

COO Sheila Penny received the R-PATH Accessible Housing Innovative Executive Ally Award.  

Penny joined TCHC in 2013 as Vice President, Facilities Management and became COO in 2019. "Sheila's been with us almost since the beginning," said Birch. "She's encouraged us, she's supported us, and she's been with us every step of the way."

In accepting her award, Penny spoke of the major contribution R-PATH made in enabling TCHC to secure National Housing Strategy funding of $1.34 billion over nine years for building capital repairs, including $390 million for accessibility upgrades. She described TCHC's partnership with R-PATH as a model for future partnerships between staff and tenants.

"We need to figure out a way to expand our connection with tenants, utilizing some of the principles that we have developed in working with R-PATH," Penny said. "R-PATH is our mirror. You show us the results of our actions and we need to find a way to have that dialogue with more tenants."

R-PATH honoured TCHC's Facilities Management team, led by VP Murray with the Accessibility Outstanding Service Team Award. Team members include Allison Brown, Rajiv DaSilva, Wiktor Janik, Kalvis Kurzemnicks, Abigail Myers, Catarina Pires, David Sheps, Reaud Singh, Noah Slater and Dubravka Trstenjak.

"The award recognizes the trust that has been built up over time through the process of working together toward a common goal," said Birch. "Everybody on this accessibility team, whether it be R-PATH or staff or management, at the end of the day we can say we are doing the absolute best we can for the people that we are responsible for. It's knowing their life is going to change for the better."

About Toronto Community Housing

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

Media contact: TCHC Media Line 416-737-1352 or media@torontohousing.ca