Q2 (April 1 to June 30, 2017) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report April 1 to June 30, 2017 be APPROVED and FORWARDED to the Public Health and Social Services Committee and subsequently to Regional and Municipal Councils for information.

Submitted by: Approved by:
 
Dan Troke
Chief Executive Officer
Henry D’Angela
Chair

Directors:

Henry D’Angela, Chair
Regional Councillor
Thorold
Ken Goka
Stakeholder
Welland
Tim Rigby
Regional Councillor
St. Catharines
Patrick O'Neill, Vice-Chair
Stakeholder
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Paul Grenier
Regional Councillor
Welland
Walter Sendzik
Regional Councillor
St. Catharines
Karen Blackley, Secretary
Stakeholder
Thorold
Kely Kendrick
Stakeholder
Fort Erie
Selina Volpatti
Regional Councillor
Niagara Falls
James Hyatt, Treasurer
Stakeholder
St. Catharines
John Osczypko
Public-at-large
St. Catharines

Highlights:

Appliction Activity
737 received & processed
Work Orders
1,951 issued
Capital Program
12 jobs/projects ongoing
12 public tenders closed
34 contract orders issued
Rent Arrears
= $43,629.27
or 3.93% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 200 new referrals
Had partnerships with 39 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
66% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,041 units
Niagara Renovates
Inspections for 2017-2018 funcding are currently in progress
Welcome Home Niagara
8 homeowners received assistance
Housing First Project
15 individuals / families housed
Appeals
= 15
9 upheld
6 overturned
New Development
Carlton Street, St. Catharines
Construction commenced June 20

VISION
That the Niagara community will provide affordable, accessible and quality housing for all residents

MISSION
To expand opportunities that make affordable housing an integral part of building healthy and sustainable communities in Niagara

As the administrator of social housing for Niagara Region, Niagara Regional Housing (NRH) works to fulfill our vision and mission through six main areas of responsibility:

  1. Public Housing (NRH Owned Units)
  2. Non-Profit Housing Programs
  3. Rent Supplement Program
  4. Affordable Housing Program
  5. Service Manager Responsibilities
  6. Housing Access Centre and Centralized Waiting List

1. Public Housing (NRH Owned Units)

DAY-TO-DAY MAINTENANCE:

In Q2, 1,951 work orders were issued, representing $697,008.60. $43,286.50 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

  2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2
# of work orders issued 3,007 2,863 3,051 1,761 1,951

Work orders are lower than usual this quarter for two reasons:

  1. Fewer vacancies resulted in fewer units to prep for new tenants
  2. More work orders that combine multiple items are being issued to Building Maintenance Services

CAPITAL PROGRAM:

The Capital Program is responsible for maintaining the Public Housing (NRH Owned Units) asset and planning for future sustainability.

In Q2, 34 contract orders were issued, 12 public tenders closed, PO’s issued $1,791,534.57 and the Capital Program was responsible for 12 capital jobs valued at $1,628,022, including:

  • Roof replacement - two projects, 44 units
  • Building Condition Assessments/Energy Audits all properties
  • Replacement of four Make Up Air Units - two projects
  • Design and preparation of tender for balcony remediation - one project
  • Design and preparation of tender for foundation repair and damp proofing - six projects
  • Design and preparation of tender for bathroom replacement - one project
  • Design and preparation of tender for kitchen replacements - three projects
  • Life safety generator replacement
  • Kitchen replacement - two projects
  • Parking lot and sidewalk replacement - three projects
  • Furnace replacement - one project, 50 units
  • Foundation repairs - one project

As of June 30, 2017, $4,445,000 of the $8,100,000 budgeted has been committed and or actually spent (54%).

Building Condition Assessments and Energy Audits have been completed and will be migrated into VFA Canada, the new asset management software that replaces Re-Capp.

The Capital Works team continues to be a part of the working group with the Region on the project management workshops.

TENANT MOVE OUTS:

Move Outs By Reason
Health 5
Long Term Care Facility 6
Deceased 23
Private Rental 6
Voluntarily Left Under Notice 5
Eviction – Tribunal 4
NRH Transfer 9
Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 0
Bought a House 0
Left Without Notice 1
Other/None Given 15
Cease to Qualify 2
TOTAL 76

In Q2, there were 76 move outs. Four involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board – Rent Arrears (three) and Maintenance Arrears (one). Three of the evictions were enforced by the Sherriff and the NRH Community Resource Unit offered support as required.

  2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2
# of move outs 95 98 87 80 76

ARREARS:

Although NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears, there was an increase from the end of 2016 to the end of Q2. Reasons for this may include:

  1. A few tenants with substantial arrears entered into mediated repayment agreements at the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) – it will take many months for them to clear the arrears or falter on the agreement (which will result in eviction)
  2. It has been taking six to eight weeks to get a hearing date at the LTB which allows arrears to grow

  June 30,
2016
Sept 30,
2016
Dec 31,
2016
Mar 31,
2017
June 30,
2017
Rent charges for
the month
$1,075,755.00 $1,083,124.06 $1,083,124.06 $1,099,834.60 $1,109,091.38
Accumulated rent arrears $25,812.79 $23,534.00 $25,033.90 $34,724.50 $43,629.27
Arrears % 2.40% 2.17% 2.31% 3.16% 3.93%

INSURANCE:

In Q2, one claim was settled and one statement of claims was served.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

In Q2, we had partnerships with 39 community agencies across Niagara. As a result of these partnerships, more than 200 support and enrichment activities were offered to tenants at NRH sites. Each partnership contributes to tenant lives and, in turn, the success of the Public Housing community as a whole:

  • Social Enterprise – The RAFT runs After School Programs in three NRH communities. For the 2016-2017 school year, they hired three teens from Manchester to cater the After School Snack Program from the new kitchen at Rykert. Each teen received training to learn safe food handling and have indicated that the extra money has been helpful.
  • Developing Positive Interests – Youth from Rykert, Manchester and Old Pine Trail participated in a seven-week Learn to Row Program, which was coordinated by the RAFT in conjunction with Brock University and the St. Catharines Rowing Club. At the end of the program, the youth attended a rowing competition at Henley Island.

Also during Q2, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) offered support to more than 248 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 48% were considered medium-high need. In particular, there was an increase in the number of requests for help resolving pet and social issues between neighbours. This is likely due to the nicer weather bringing tenants outside which increased contact.

2. Non-Profit Housing Programs

As administrator of social housing for Niagara Region, NRH provides legislative oversight for 65 Non-Profit Housing Programs (non-profit and co-operative). Operational Reviews are conducted to determine the overall health of each.

  2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2
Healthy 42 44 43 44 43
Routine Monitoring 19 17 18 18 18
Intensive Monitoring 3 2 2 1 2
Pre-PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
TOTAL 66 65 65 65 65

NRH Housing Programs continues to work with Federal Non-Profit Housing Programs as they move toward End of Operating Agreements (EOA).

3. Rent Supplement Program

In Q2, there were 1,041 Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance units across Niagara.

  2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2
Fort Erie 24 21 19 23 24
Grimsby 24 24 24 24 24
Lincoln (Beamsville) 2 2 2 2 2
Niagara Falls 172 173 175 177 183
Niagara-on-the-Lake -- -- -- -- --
Pelham -- 31 31 28 26
Port Colborne 32 30 32 34 40
St. Catharines 511 508 505 513 525
Thorold 18 19 20 20 21
Welland 180 182 184 183 181
West Lincoln 15 15 15 15 15
TOTAL 978 1,005 1,007 1,019 1,041

Variances in the number of Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance units reflects the general management of the program and required take-up/deletion of units due to End of Operating Agreements (EOA), move out of tenants, and/or new units/landlords. Totals will be increasing in the future as some Non-Profit Housing Programs transition into a Rent Supplement agreement upon expiry of their operating agreement. It is unknown which areas will be affected.

4. Affordable Housing Program

NIAGARA RENOVATES PROGRAM:

The Niagara Renovates program provides assistance to low-to-moderate income homeowners for home repairs, accessibility modifications and the creation of secondary suites in single family homes.

Niagara Renovates inspections for 2017-2018 funding are currently in progress. Inspections include all areas inside and outside of the home to ensure compliance with program guidelines. Issues are identified and a detailed Inspection Report is completed for review before a decision is communicated to the homeowner.

NRH received $550,000 through the IAH-E program and $450,000 through the SIF program, totaling $1,000,000 for 2017/2018 period. An estimated 50 homeowners should receive assistance for home repairs by the December 31, 2017 deadline.

HOMEOWNERSHIP PROGRAM – “WELCOME HOME NIAGARA”:

The Homeownership program assists low-to-moderate income rental households to purchase their first home by providing a down payment loan.

In Q2, 8 homeowners received assistance through Welcome Home Niagara.

HOUSING FIRST PROGRAM:

The Housing First program helps people move quickly from homelessness to their own home by providing supports to help difficult to house individuals find and keep housing.

In Q2, 15 individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program.

  2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2
# individuals/families housed 11 8 8 13 15
# of Housing First units (at quarter end) 114 116 115 116 136

Since 2012, Housing First has helped 251 individuals/families.

RENTAL HOUSING (NEW DEVELOPMENT):

In addition to the NRH new development, IAH-E funding has been allocated to three non-profit organizations and will result in the creation of 40 units for seniors and mental health consumers in Niagara:

  Amount Units
Gateway Residences of Niagara, Huron Street, Niagara Falls $720,000 9
Thorold Municipal Non-Profit, Ormond Street, Thorold $1,228,912 14
Stamford Kiwanis, Barker Street, Niagara Falls $1,089,088 17
TOTAL $3,038,000 40

At the end of Q2

  • Gateway Residence of Niagara – complete. The final payment has not been issued. The financial audit is in progress.
  • Thorold Municipal Non-Profit – construction is complete. All seasonal work and minor deficiencies have been completed. Final payment was completed upon completion of financial audit.
  • Stamford Kiwanis – Construction has is on hold pending financing. Financing is pending a phase 2 environmental assessment and security agreements. Construction is at 60% complete. Construction schedule is delayed and final occupancy is uncertain at this time.
  • Carlton Street - Construction commenced June 20 after the structural permit was issued the same day. Final permit was issued August 4. Installation of underground site services is 90% complete. Site grading is 60% complete. Excavation of footings and foundation work is approximately 30% complete. Substantial completion is scheduled for December 1, 2018.

5. Service Manager Responsibilities

APPEALS:

In Q2, fifteen appeals were heard (10 more than Q2 of 2016).Six were upheld and nine were overturned.

Four were appeals relating to ongoing RGI eligibility (for failure to provide information and/or notify of changes) and all were overturned with conditions. Two households did not meet the conditions and must now pay market rent.

11 were appeals of decisions made by Housing Access:

  • Two denied applicants Special Priority Status (one upheld, one overturned)
  • Six denied applicants Urgent Status (two upheld – one because the applicant is no longer living in same location/environment; four overturned)
  • Two denied applicants an additional bedroom (two upheld)
  • One denied an overhoused household an additional bedroom (upheld)

  2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2
# of appeals 5 11 11 7 15

INVESTMENTS:

See Appendix A – Investment Report


6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

# of Applications Received & Processed 737
# of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 72
# of Urgent Status Applications 114
# of Homeless Status Applications 173
# of Eligible Applications 711
# of Ineligible Applications 26
# of Cancelled Applications 345
# of Applicants Housed 124

In Q2, 371 households were removed from the Centralized Waiting List because they were no longer eligible, they found alternate housing or we were unable to make contact.

There continues to be an increase in the number of applications being submitted. Q2 saw a 7% increase over Q1.

CENTRALIZED WAITING LIST:

  2016-
Q2
2016-
Q3
2016-
Q4
2017-
Q1
2017-
Q2
# of households
A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
  Niagara resident RGI waiting list 3,987 3,883 3,875 4,067 4,226
  Applicants from outside Niagara 560 563 568 548 603
TOTAL RGI waiting list: 4,547 4,446 4,443 4,651 4,829
  Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit N/A 305 304 311 344
A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
  Seniors 1,825 1,824 1,868 1,924 1,973
  Adults no dependents 1,555 1,549 1,522 1,619 1,614
  Adults with dependents 1,167 1,073 1,053 1,108 1,242
A2 RGI list further segmented (#’s included in A & A1):
  SPP – Special Provincial Priority (Ministry Priority): helps victims of violence separate permanently from their abuser 85 91 90 100 115
  URG – Urgent (Local Priority): for applicants with mobility barriers and/or extreme hardship where their current accommodation puts them at extreme risk and/or causes hardship 111 103 98 93 98
  UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 614 610 579 653 748
  SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 37 30 28 31 29
B In addition, NRH manages:
  Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 126 135 126 126 133
  Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 432 403 410 434 437
TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 5,105 4,984 4,979 5,211 5,399
C NRH maintains a waiting list for market rent units (62 Non-Profit Housing Programs):
  Market: applicants who have applied for a market rent unit in the Non-Profit Housing Programs portfolio 587 571 556 546 569
TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 5,692 5,555 5,535 5,757 5,968
TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 9,574 9,235 9,237 9,602 10,031

Note: the above chart includes only those who apply to the Centralized Waiting List and does not capture the full number of those in need of affordable housing in Niagara.


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