Q4 (October 1 to December 31, 2017) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report October 1 to December 31, 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:
 
Donna Woiceshyn
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Henry D’Angela
Chair

Directors:

Henry D’Angela, Chair
Regional Councillor
Thorold
Ken Goka
Stakeholder
Welland
Andrew Petrowski
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
632 received & processed
Work Orders
2,993 issued
Capital Program
9 jobs/projects ongoing
10 public tenders closed
49 contract orders issued
Rent Arrears
= $49,045.27
or 4.26% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 200 new referrals
Had partnerships with 43 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
67% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,186 units
Niagara Renovates
56 homeowners received assistance for home repairs in 2017
Welcome Home Niagara
13 homeowners received assistance
Housing First Project
22 individuals / families housed
Appeals
= 9
5 upheld
4 overturned
New Development
Carlton Street, St. Catharines
Approx. 30% complete
Substantial completion scheduled for Dec 1, 2018

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 Q4, 2,993 work orders were issued, representing $1,115,095.54. $76,937.81 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

  2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4
# of work orders issued 3,051 1,761 1,951 3,263 2,993

Unit inspections were ongoing throughout Q4 and resulted in a high number of work orders as deficiencies/issues were identified and addressed. The level of work involved and costs associated with repairs/maintenance depends on the length of time the household has lived in the unit and the level of care invested by them.

CAPITAL PROGRAM:

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

In Q4, 49 contract orders were issued, 10 public tenders closed and purchase orders issued $1,774,277.93.

The Capital Program was responsible for nine capital jobs valued at $1,296,000 including:

  • Balcony door replacement - one project
  • Masonry repair and brick tie installation - one project
  • Replacement of four make-up air units - two projects
  • Design and preparation of tender for kitchen replacements - three projects
  • Life safety generator replacement
  • Kitchen replacement - three projects
  • Balcony remediation - one project
  • Foundation repairs - four projects

As of December 31, 2017, $7,407,000 of the $7,705,000 budgeted (excluding emergency) has been committed and or actually spent (96%).

New asset management software has been purchased (VFA Canada) and Building Condition Assessment data has been populated. Currently revising working drafts on the population of assets.

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 12
Deceased 13
Private Rental 7
Voluntarily Left Under Notice 6
Eviction – Tribunal 9
NRH Transfer 17
Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 1
Bought a House 0
Left Without Notice 3
Other/None Given 8
Cease to Qualify 0
TOTAL 81

In Q4, there were 81 move outs. Nine involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) – Arrears (all). Seven of the evictions were enforced by the Sheriff.

  2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4
# of move outs 87 80 76 75 81

ARREARS:

Although NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears, there has been an increase from 2016. 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

  Dec 31,
2016
Mar 31,
2017
June 30,
2017
Sept 30,
2017
Dec 31,
2017
Rent charges for
the month
$1,083,124.06 $1,099,834.60 $1,109,091.38 $1,122,027.00 $1,150,372.27
Accumulated rent arrears $25,033.90 $34,724.50 $43,629.27 $44,326.67 $49,045.27
Arrears % 2.31% 3.16% 3.93% 3.95% 4.26%

INSURANCE:

In Q4, no claims were settled but there were two offers out on two non-litigated NRH claims (no acceptance or payment made to date). There was one property damage claim (fire loss) expected to exceed the $25,000 deductible – tenant has confirmed that she has insurance.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

In Q4, we had partnerships with 43 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:

  • Since 2014, NRH has partnered with the Brock University Department of Health Sciences in Through Their Eyes, an intergenerational collaborative project that matches students and NRH seniors to determine the "age-friendliness"” of the seniors’ surroundings. Each year, seniors in participating NRH communities are energized by the students, while students learn about aging in a low-income environment and NRH benefits from the student/senior feedback. In Q4, Through Their Eyes took place in NRH’s Ormond Street Seniors Community in Thorold. The project was so successful that some of the students are continuing to volunteer at Ormond Street and are working with the tenants to coordinate a wide range of activities.

Also during Q4, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) offered support to more than 269 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 47% were considered medium-high need. In particular, there was an increase in the number of tenants needing help with bed bugs as well as an increase in the number of tenants requiring referrals to other agencies (e.g. Community Support Services Niagara, Senior Community Programs).

2. Non-Profit Housing Programs

As administrator of social housing for Niagara Region, NRH provides legislative oversight for 64 Non-Profit Housing Programs (non-profit and co-operative). Operational Reviews are conducted to determine the overall health of each.

  2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4
Healthy 43 44 43 42 43
Routine Monitoring 18 18 18 18 18
Intensive Monitoring 2 1 2 2 1
Pre-PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
TOTAL 65 65 65 64 64

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 Q4, there were 1,186 Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance units across Niagara. In the Rent Supplement program, tenants pay 30% of their gross monthly income directly to the private landlord and NRH subsidizes the difference up to the market rent for the unit. The Housing Allowance program is a short term program that provides a set allowance to help applicants on the wait list.

  2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4
Fort Erie 19 23 24 26 26
Grimsby 24 24 24 25 26
Lincoln (Beamsville) 2 2 2 2 2
Niagara Falls 175 177 183 200 219
Niagara-on-the-Lake -- -- -- -- --
Pelham 31 28 26 24 24
Port Colborne 32 34 40 44 47
St. Catharines 505 513 525 567 600
Thorold 20 20 21 24 29
Welland 184 183 181 189 199
West Lincoln 15 15 15 15 14
TOTAL 1,007 1,019 1,041 1,116 1,186

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 have now been completed. 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 Investment in Affordable Housing - Extension (IAH-E) program and $450,000 through the Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF) program, totaling $1,000,000 for 2017/2018 period. A total of 56 homeowners received assistance for home repairs in 2017.

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 Q4, 13 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 Q4, 22 individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program.

  2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4
# individuals/families housed 8 13 15 10 22
# of Housing First units (at quarter end) 115 116 136 131 148

Since 2012, Housing First has helped 321 individuals/families.

RENTAL HOUSING (NEW DEVELOPMENT):

NRH New Development
  Amount Units
Carlton Street, St. Catharines    
   Investment in Affordable Housing-Extension (IAH-E), Year 3 $5,806,000 45
   Investment in Affordable Housing-Extension (IAH-E), Year 4 $2,387,817 17
   Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF), Year 1 $2,888,000 23
TOTAL $11,081,817 85

At the end of Q4

  • Site services - transformer vault installed, underground water, and sewer services installed, granular B Base for parking lot and entrance road 80% complete, main gas line and electrical cabling, transformer installation incomplete
  • Superstructure is 85% complete, 5th floor roof core slab and structural steel is outstanding
  • Masonry structural walls - 80% complete up to roof level
  • Interior and exterior steel stud framing in progress - 1st & 2nd floor 90 % complete, 3rd floor exterior framing 80% complete, 4th floor exterior framing is in progress - 10% complete
  • Electrical rough-in in progress on first 3 floors
  • Above ground mechanical rough-in started on 1st floor
  • Fire sprinkler system rough-in started on 1st floor
  • Overall progress approximately 30% complete

Additional New Development

Investment in Affordable Housing-Extension (IAH-E), Year 2 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 Q4:

  • Gateway Residence of Niagara – complete and operational.
  • Thorold Municipal Non-Profit – complete and operational.
  • Stamford Kiwanis – construction is on still on hold pending financing. Financing is still delayed pending further discussion with the City of Niagara Falls. Construction schedule is delayed and final occupancy is uncertain at this time. Project is approximately 60% complete.

5. Service Manager Responsibilities

APPEALS:

In Q4, 9 appeals were heard (two less than 2016-Q4).

    Breakdown:
  • Four related to ongoing RGI eligibility
    • Two for failure to provide information – both overturned with conditions
    • One for unauthorized occupant and failure to notify of a change – upheld
    • One overhoused household for failure to accept final offer -- overturned
  • Five for decisions made by Housing Access (e.g. requests for urgent status or an additional bedroom)
    • Four upheld
    • One overturned

  2016-Q4 2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4
# of appeals 11 7 15 15 9

INVESTMENTS:

See Appendix A – Investment Report


6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

# of Applications Received & Processed 632
# of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 72
# of Urgent Status Applications 129
# of Homeless Status Applications 162
# of Eligible Applications 608
# of Ineligible Applications 24
# of Cancelled Applications 348
# of Applicants Housed 164

In Q4, 372 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.

CENTRALIZED WAITING LIST:

  2017-
Q4
2017-
Q1
2017-
Q2
2017-
Q3
2017-
Q4
# of households
A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
  Niagara resident RGI waiting list 3,875 4,067 4,226 4,282 4,344
  Applicants from outside Niagara 568 548 603 641 657
TOTAL RGI waiting list: 4,443 4,651 4,829 4,923 5,001
  Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit 304 311 344 428 505
A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
  Seniors 1,868 1,924 1,973 2,038 2,061
  Adults no dependents 1,522 1,619 1,614 1,652 1,703
  Adults with dependents 1,053 1,108 1,242 1,233 1,237
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 90 100 115 114 101
  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 98 93 98 105 99
  UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 579 653 748 821 832
  SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 28 31 29 26 19
B In addition, NRH manages:
  Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 126 126 133 111 143
  Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 410 434 437 499 513
TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 4,979 5,211 5,399 5,533 5,657
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 556 546 569 592 591
TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 5,535 5,757 5,968 6,125 6,248
TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 9,237 9,602 10,031 10,217 10,449

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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