Toronto Community Housing board moves forward with plan to assist tenants by raising $15.7 million for capital repairs
TORONTO, April 6 /CNW/ - A plan aimed at raising $15.7 million for much-needed capital repairs received approval from Toronto Community Housing's board today.
Managing Director Case Ootes directed staff to seek government approvals for selling 22 single-family houses on the open market, investing the sales proceeds to improve Toronto Community Housing's existing housing stock and replacing seven rent-geared-to-income units located in those houses with an equal number of rent supplements.
"Selling these 22 houses on the open market and investing the sales proceeds into much-needed repairs will maximize our housing assets for the good of tenants and all Torontonians. It will generate $15.7 million for much-needed repairs and, by that, create access to more social housing within our portfolio for those in need," Mr. Ootes said.
The houses were chosen based on the results of a comprehensive review of the entire portfolio's housing stock and state of repair. The houses require more than $2.5 million in repairs over the next 10 years to ensure an acceptable state of repair.
A committee of the former board approved the proposed sale of the 22 houses in early 2011. The proposed sale was also part of Toronto Community Housing's Real Estate Asset Investment Strategy, which was unveiled in 2008.
Toronto Community Housing has contacted all impacted tenants. Steps will be taken to minimize negative impacts, including:
- Honouring all existing documented commitments made to tenants;
- Finding alternate housing in our portfolio for subsidized tenants; and
- Informing market rent tenants about other options in our portfolio.
Also at the meeting, staff reported on steps being taken to put in place better financial controls and accountability mechanisms in response to the recent Auditor General's report. Steps already taken include:
- New employee expenses directive with clear rules for business expenses;
- Cancellation of purchase cards;
- Staff discipline for inappropriate expenses (14 warnings, one suspension, seven employee termination/departures); and
- Approval of a Corporate Compliance Initiative that provides continuous monitoring, reporting, risk analysis and staff training to ensure policies and procedures are followed and money is spent wisely and well.
"Social housing is essential to the well-being of Toronto. Putting in place proper financial controls and accountability is crucial to Toronto Community Housing restoring public confidence and delivering on its mandate to provide affordable housing," Mr. Ootes said. In addition, the operating and capital budgets for 2011 received board approval. The budgets are Toronto Community Housing's financial plan for strengthening people, places and its foundation. Priorities for 2011 are:
- Improved financial discipline;
- Managed risk and effective governance;
- Sound investment in real estate assets;
- Well-maintained buildings;
- Successful tenancies;
- Enhanced community safety;
- Improved customer service; and
- Better communication.
Toronto Community Housing posts board reports on its website www.torontohousing.ca.
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider and home to more than 164,000 tenants with low and moderate incomes—about six per cent of the City of Toronto's population. Toronto Community Housing employs 1,400 staff in a broad range of jobs, who deliver its mission to provide affordable housing, connect tenants to services and opportunities, and work together to build healthy communities.For further information: