Board Chair Kevin Marshman spoke about some of Toronto Community Housing’s 2018 accomplishments during his opening remarks of the December 6, 2018 board meeting. Here is the text of his remarks.
As this is our final scheduled board meeting of 2018, I'd like to reflect on some of the highlights Toronto Community Housing has accomplished over the past year.
- The board approved Toronto Community Housing's next four-year strategic plan, which will guide our company in continuing to deliver on three priorities: Positive Tenant Experience, Quality Homes and Vibrant Communities.
- In 2018 we will be delivering a $300-million capital renewal program to improve tenant safety, comfort and living conditions. This year, we have refurbished or replaced 34 elevators; repaired 206 furnaces and boilers in 204 buildings; and repaired roofs atop 121 buildings in 44 communities. Together, this work has benefited more than 16,000 tenants.
- We budgeted $17.4 million for accessibility upgrades at 131 buildings, improving living conditions for over 9,000 tenants.
- We installed or upgraded more than 2,300 CCTV cameras in 47 communities, to enhance community safety and security.
- We have also begun planning and tendering of the work to position TCHC to deliver our full $313-million capital renewal plan in 2019.
- Responding to the Toronto Ombudsman's recommendations, we created a new Crisis priority transfer process that enables us to focus on addressing situations where tenants face a direct, immediate, elevated and acute risk to their health or safety. Not only did we implement the new process in July in accordance with the planned schedule, we have begun a process to match, through a one-time offer, tenants who were approved for the discontinued Medical and Safety at Risk transfer process with available vacant units.
- Following City Council approval of a Tenants First report on housing for seniors, we promptly established a Seniors Housing Unit within Toronto Community Housing. The unit manages our portfolio of seniors-designated buildings and is working with the City to design a service model for seniors housing that will improve access to services for all seniors and promote aging in place.
- We take the safety of our tenants and communities seriously. In 2018, we partnered with Toronto Police Service to implement the Violence Reduction Program. Through this program, extra funding provided by the City enabled us to expand our YouthWorx summer jobs program to hire 155 youth plus 23 coordinators. We conducted safety pilots at the broader Dan Harrison community and at Greenwood Towers, a seniors-designated building, then we expanded the pilots to 10 other communities.
- We also hired more special constables to increase the presence of the Community Safety Unit in our communities. Early results of this strategy show promise. For example, at the Dan Harrison community, where special constables were added, there were fewer property crimes, crimes against persons, and weapons offences between September 1 and November 30, 2018 compared with the same period in the prior year. Joint patrols with CSU special constables and Toronto Police also increased by 30 per cent during this same period.
- Through our community revitalization program, we opened new rental buildings in Lawrence Heights and Regent Park, bringing a total of 268 rent-geared to income units back online. At 250 Davenport, we completed the $14-million refurbishment of 449 units in the highrise tower and started construction on the block of 11 rental townhomes. We also began planning for phase 1 of the Don Summerville revitalization and worked to develop the master plan for renewing the Firgrove community.
- In support of the City's efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing, we opened 59 affordable rental units in two Regent Park buildings in 2018. We also invited applications this fall for an additional 75 affordable rental units in Regent Park, which will be available for occupancy in 2019.
- By the end of the year our frontline access and support staff will have connected more than 4,500 tenants to supports that enable them to maintain successful tenancies. This is a 22-per-cent increase over 2017 and a 46-per-cent increase over 2016.
- Through partnerships with agencies and the private sector, this year our community economic development programs have connected almost 400 tenants to jobs with employers across Toronto. As well, our active living programs hired 180 youth to deliver programs that served nearly 1,900 children and youth.
- Finally, through a range of programs we delivered with partners, nearly 100 students from our communities won scholarships to pursue postsecondary education.
While we know we have much more work to do, on behalf of the board I would like to congratulate and thank all the employees at Toronto Community Housing for their hard work and dedication in 2018 to deliver better housing and services to tenants and build vibrant communities. We are well-placed to build on our 2018 progress in 2019 guided by the four-year strategic plan and the 2019 budget, which is currently under review and will come to the board for approval shortly.