Housing Provider Forum
Niagara Regional Housing is planning a Social Housing Provider Forum in 2017. More information will follow once the date is confirmed.
- Housing Provider Training: Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI)
Social Housing Provider Forum 2014
On May 9, 2014 Niagara Regional Housing hosted the annual Social Housing Provider Forum. Topics included a presentation on how to assist people living with mental health issues, regulatory changes for WSIB and ESA, as well as an overview of capital vs. operating expenses and NRH’s new capital forecasting system for social housing providers.
Past Social Housing Provider Forum Information:
Niagara Regional Housing partnered with the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) and held RGI training workshops on January 14 and 15, 2016 at Club Roma. These workshops provided an overview of the steps involved in determining income and assets and calculating RGI under the Housing Services Act. It was a good introduction to RGI calculations for new housing provider staff and a refresher for experienced housing provider staff.
For more information on RGI training and online training contact the ONPHA or visit their website at www.onpha.on.ca
AODA Workshop for Co-operative Housing
The newly proclaimed customer service standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission's rental housing policy set the direction for expectations of barrier and discrimination-free accessibility to housing.
This workshop focused on the implications for a Co-operative Housing's operation to meet the requirements of the new customer service standard when dealing with the public and co-op members. Cooperative Board members and staff learned about potential impacts of the accessibility standards currently under development. How to modify policies and procedures to ensure they are not discriminatory in any aspect of their operation (such as member selection, member relations, RGI administration and arrears collection) and to allow for accommodation of a disability when necessary. As well as investigating and acting on complaints and how to meet your duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship.
The presenters were from the local and national federations as well as a local lawyer with human rights expertise.
ABC's of Accessibility & Accommodation/AODA
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 requires training for all social housing providers' employees, volunteers and contractors, and applies to social housing providers with one or more employees. Niagara Regional Housing held various training workshops to satisfy the requirements of the AODA. The full-day training workshops incorporated the Human Rights legislation, Duty to Accommodate, and the AODA requirements. The training was applicable to non-profits only (not cooperatives).
Human Rights training for cooperatives was held at the GHCHF Annual General Meeting and Winter Workshops in January 2011.
The one-hour and three-hour training courses that were offered by Niagara Region's Accessibility Advisory Coordinator can also be delivered at your site and will provide an opportunity to discuss how accessible your building(s) are. If you are interested in this type of training at your location, please call Deborah Firmin 905-682-9201 ext. 3918 for more information.
One hour e-learning is available at Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario's Customer Service and can also be ordered on DVD (see below) or your Housing Administrator has a DVD copy of Serve-Ability and can show it at your board meeting.
To order a free DVD copy of Serve-Ability, you can call the AODA contact centre at 1-866-515-2025, or order it online by doing a keyword search for "AODA" at Service Ontario.
Please note that we have found the DVD to be somewhat cumbersome to use. If providers choose to complete training using the DVD, we recommend that a few people from each social housing provider (at minimum) attend the actual workshops to become the resident "experts."
- Emergency Plan Workshop
In October and November 2010, Niagara Regional Housing held two Emergency Plan Workshops conducted by SHSC. Social Housing Providers were shown how to plan an effective emergency response through a detailed step by step guide on what to do when an emergency strikes.
Information packages along with templates highlighting emergency response procedures for 21 specific emergency events were given to participants of the workshops.
- Energy Audit/Energized Building Condition Assessments
On May 12, 2010, NRH hosted the annual Social Housing Provider Forum on the Energy Audit/Energized Building Condition Assessments for social housing provider communities. Virta Energy conducted a session guiding social housing providers through the reports and how to use the information to plan future capital work to include energy savings.
- Mould Awareness
A Mould Awareness and Prevention workshop was held on February 10, 2010. This workshop provided practical information and tools for social housing providers to effectively deal with mould issues, and minimize property damage and liabilities associated with mould.
Participants gained an understanding of what mould is, why it is a problem, and were given guidelines and steps for effective mould removal and clean up. Participants also learned how to develop a Mould Prevention Program.
- Preventative Maintenance Workshops
Three Preventative Maintenance workshops delivered by the Asset Management Centre, and partially sponsored by NRH, were held in the fall of 2009. Attendees enjoyed networking with others and were pleased with the preventative maintenance plan choices offered in the workshop – from a simple plan to the more complex.
- Financial Planning
On May 14 & 26, 2009, NRH offered training on how to complete the Annual Information Return (AIR) and the importance of using the Financial Monitoring Tool (FMT) throughout the year.
More Information Download the Presentation
Completing the FMT/AIR on a monthly saves time at year end, saves money in audit fees, and helps staff and boards to understand their current financial position. The workshop demonstrated the variances between a regular revenue & expense statement and the reconciliation created by the FMT. Factors such as market rents below benchmarks, actual units not on target, property taxes or mortgage higher/lower than budget, and RGI revenue higher/lower than budget can all have a huge impact on the bottom line that may not be apparent in a budget to actual statement. The FMT automatically calculates any subsidy adjustments and gives an accurate surplus/deficit figure.
The importance of short and long term financial planning was also discussed at this workshop. Participants identified activities or lack of activities, which if allowed to occur, could spiral a housing complex into major capital issues and risk project viability. Some of the solutions provided by the group were: a good preventative maintenance plan; timely response to maintenance requests; unit and common area inspections and follow-up on deficiencies; appropriate technical reports such as an energy study and Building Condition Assessment & Reserve Fund Study; arrears policies consistently applied; and efficient unit turnover procedures. Proper short and long term planning means that the social housing provider is able to match the needs of the building and tenants/members to the funds available, even if those funds are limited.
- Greening Asset Management
On March 24, 2009, NRH hosted the annual Social Housing Provider Forum on "Greening Asset Management".
- What to Expect From an Energy Audit
- Asbestos – What You Need to Know
- Asset Management Centre
- CHF 2020 Vision
- CMHC Equilibrium Housing Initiative
- Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. – Rebates
- Horizon Utilities – ERIP
- Green Light on a Better Environment (GLOBE)
- Niagara Region Waste Management
- ONPHA – Going Green
- Year End Reporting for Federal Housing Providers – Federal Housing Providers
On October 16, 2008, NRH offered training to Federal Housing Providers on the Federal Annual Information Return (AIR) and other changes to the year end process. Activities included completing an AIR and the Capital & Operating Budget planning cycle. Social housing providers shared their best practices. Jayne Dodds, Administrator for Ridgeway Lions gave the group the unit and common area inspection forms used by Ridgeway Lions, and explained their annual process. Joan Packham, Administrator for Legion Villa talked about their Policy and Procedure manual, and distributed the table of contents and some sample policies to the group. Download the Presentation
NRH will post upcoming training opportunities as available