Q1 (January 1 to March 31, 2018) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report January 1 to March 31, 2018 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
Betty Ann Baker, Secretary
Community Director
St. Catharines
Walter Sendzik
Regional Councillor
St. Catharines
James Hyatt, Vice-Chair
Stakeholder
St. Catharines
Paul Grenier
Regional Councillor
Welland
Selina Volpatti
Regional Councillor
Niagara Falls
Karen Blackley, Treasurer
Stakeholder
Thorold
Tim Rigby
Regional Councillor
St. Catharines
 

Highlights:

Appliction Activity
670 received & processed
Work Orders
2,566 issued
Capital Program
8 jobs/projects ongoing
4 public tenders closed
37 contract orders issued
Rent Arrears
= $48,660.91
or 4.17% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 305 new referrals
Had partnerships with 44 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
66% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,273 units
Niagara Renovates
inspections for 2018-2019 funding are still underway
Welcome Home Niagara
5 homeowners received assistance
Housing First Project
17 individuals / families housed
Appeals
= 19
11 upheld
7 overturned
2 deferred
New Development
Carlton Street, St. Catharines
approx. 50% complete

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 Q1, 2,566 work orders were issued, representing $1,140,348.20. $30,146 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

  2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4 2018-Q1
# of work orders issued 1,761 1,951 3,263 2,993 2,566

Q1 saw a decrease in the number of work orders issued which may be because there were fewer vacancies. 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 Q1, 37 contract orders were issued, four public tenders closed and purchase orders issued $1,382,685.

The Capital Program was responsible for five capital jobs valued at $1,400,000 and three SHAIP capital projects valued at $600,000 including:

  • Parking lot replacement - one project
  • Roof replacements - two projects
  • Furnace replacements - one project
  • Design and preparation of tender for kitchen replacements - one project
  • Design and preparation of tender for parking lot replacement - one project
  • Design and preparation of tender for foundation repair and dam proofing - 10 projects
  • Installation of a heat control system - two projects
  • Domestic hot water replacement - one project

As of March 31, 2018, $1,400,000 of the $7,000,000 budgeted (excluding emergency) has been committed and or actually spent (20%).

All assets are now populated in the new asset management software (VFA) and staff are updating capital jobs from 2016 and 2017.

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

TENANT MOVE OUTS:

Move Outs By Reason
Health 7
Long Term Care Facility 6
Deceased 17
Private Rental 3
Voluntarily Left Under Notice 2
Eviction – Tribunal 5
NRH Transfer 10
Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 1
Bought a House 2
Left Without Notice 1
Other/None Given 12
Cease to Qualify 1
TOTAL 67

In Q1, there were 67 move outs. Three involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) for Arrears. All of the evictions were enforced by the Sheriff.

  2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4 2018-Q1
# of move outs 80 76 75 81 67

ARREARS:

Although NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears, there was a steady increase throughout 2017. 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

  Mar 31,
2017
June 30,
2017
Sept 30,
2017
Dec 31,
2017
Mar 31,
2018
Rent charges for
the month
$1,099,834.60 $1,109,091.38 $1,122,027.00 $1,150,372.27 $1,167,751.69
Accumulated rent arrears $34,724.50 $43,629.27 $44,326.67 $49,045.27 $48,660.91
Arrears % 3.16% 3.93% 3.95% 4.26% 4.17%

INSURANCE:

In Q1, one claim was settled.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

In Q1, we had partnerships with 44 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:

  • Faith Welland has been delivering support and programs in NRH’s McLaughlin Street family community since it was identified as “stressed and requiring attention” in 2006. Programming has expanded and now includes NRH senior communities on Fitch and Elmview Streets and the Roach Street family community. Faith Welland and their many partners and volunteers provide activities and events that range from cooking and gardening for adults and homework help, after school programs and summer camps for children to community dinners and parties for all ages. Their work helps build community pride, develop individual skills and self-esteem and enhance tenants’ physical and mental health.

Also during Q1, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) offered support to more than 305 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 51% were considered medium-high need. In particular, there was an increase in the number of tenants needing help resolving social issues with fellow tenants as well as private neighbours.

2. Non-Profit Housing Programs

As administrator of social housing for Niagara Region, NRH provides legislative oversight for 62 Non-Profit Housing Programs (non-profit and co-operative). Operational Reviews are conducted to determine the overall health of each.

  2018-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4 2018-Q1
Healthy 44 43 42 43 41
Routine Monitoring 18 18 18 18 18
Intensive Monitoring 1 2 2 1 1
Pre-PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
TOTAL 65 65 64 64 62

By the end of 2017, four former federally funded projects came to the end of their operating agreements. NRH was able to preserve 39 Rent-Geared-to-Income units through the successful negotiation of Rent Supplement agreements with three of the Non-Profit Housing Programs. NRH Housing Programs will continue to work with former Federal Non-Profit Housing Programs as they near the expiry of their operating agreements.

3. Rent Supplement Program

In Q1, there were 1,273 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.

  2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4 2018-Q1
Fort Erie 23 24 26 26 27
Grimsby 24 24 25 26 26
Lincoln (Beamsville) 2 2 2 2 13
Niagara Falls 177 183 200 219 228
Niagara-on-the-Lake -- -- -- -- --
Pelham 28 26 24 24 23
Port Colborne 34 40 44 47 51
St. Catharines 513 525 567 600 657
Thorold 20 21 24 29 32
Welland 183 181 189 199 202
West Lincoln 15 15 15 14 14
TOTAL 1,019 1,041 1,116 1,186 1,273

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 2018-2019 funding are now underway. 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 $500,000 through the Investment in Affordable Housing - Extension (IAH-E) program for homeowner and secondary suite repairs and $626,300 for multi-unit repairs, totaling $1,126,300 for the 2018/2019 period.

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 Q1, five homeowners received assistance through Welcome Home Niagara. One of these was an NRH tenant.

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 Q1, 17 individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program.

  2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4 2018-Q1
# individuals/families housed 13 15 10 22 17
# of Housing First units (at quarter end) 116 136 131 148 165

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 Q1

  • Site services – transformer installed, main gas line installation scheduled this month
  • Superstructure – 100% complete, Mechanical Penthouse is framed, cladding is outstanding
  • Masonry structural walls – 100% complete, exterior envelope installation underway
  • Interior and exterior steel stud framing – 95% complete
  • Electrical rough-in in progress on all five floors
  • Above ground mechanical rough-in in progress on 1st to 3rd floor
  • Fire sprinkler system rough-in in progress on 1st to 5th floor
  • Overall progress – approximately 50% 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 Q1:

  • Gateway Residence of Niagara – complete and operational
  • Thorold Municipal Non-Profit – complete and operational
  • Stamford Kiwanis – construction is still on hold pending financing. Financing is delayed pending further discussion with financial institution. Project is approximately 60% complete.

5. Service Manager Responsibilities

APPEALS:

In Q1, 19 appeals were heard, This is more than two and a half times the number heard in 2017-Q1.

    Breakdown:
  • Seven related to ongoing RGI eligibility
    • Six for failure to provide information – one deferred, five overturned (two with conditions)
    • One for overhoused household failure to accept final offer – overhoused status returned, loss of subsidy overturned
  • One related to review of overhoused status for NRH tenant – deferred
  • 11 for decisions made by Housing Access (e.g. requests for priority status or an additional bedroom) – ten upheld, one overturned

  2017-Q1 2017-Q2 2017-Q3 2017-Q4 2018-Q1
# of appeals 7 15 15 9 19

INVESTMENTS:

See Appendix A – Investment Report


6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

# of Applications Received & Processed 670
# of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 75
# of Urgent Status Applications 113
# of Homeless Status Applications 149
# of Eligible Applications 643
# of Ineligible Applications 27
# of Cancelled Applications 609
# of Applicants Housed 121

In Q1, 636 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-
Q1
2017-
Q2
2017-
Q3
2017-
Q4
2018-
Q1
# of households
A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
  Niagara resident RGI waiting list 4,067 4,226 4,282 4,344 4,287
  Applicants from outside Niagara 548 603 641 657 639
TOTAL RGI waiting list: 4,651 4,829 4,923 5,001 4,926
  Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit 311 344 428 505 569
A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
  Seniors 1,924 1,973 2,038 2,061 2,064
  Adults no dependents 1,619 1,614 1,652 1,703 1,630
  Adults with dependents 1,108 1,242 1,233 1,237 1,232
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 100 115 114 101 122
  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 93 98 105 99 104
  UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 653 748 821 832 842
  SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 31 29 26 19 17
B In addition, NRH manages:
  Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 126 133 111 143 152
  Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 434 437 499 513 518
TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 5,211 5,399 5,533 5,657 5,596
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 546 569 592 591 578
TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 5,757 5,968 6,125 6,248 6,174
TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 9,602 10,031 10,217 10,449 10,380

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.

ESTIMATED WAIT TIMES:

CITY SENIORS
Age 55 and older
SINGLES
Age 16-54
HOUSEHOLDS WITH DEPENDENTS
Bachelor 1 Bed Bachelor 1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 5 Bed
YEARS
Forst Erie - 9 2 8.5 2 1 5 -
Grimsby - 4 - - - - - -
Lincoln - 4.5 - 12 9 8 - -
Niagara Falls 4 6 - 16 5 3 7 14
Niagara-on-the-Lake - 6.5 - - - - - -
Pelham - 3.5 - - - - - -
Port Colborne - 4.5 - 13 3 3 3 -
St. Catharines - 6.5 9 13 3.5 3 9 12
Thorold - 6.5 - 10 6 8 - -
Welland - 5 6 15 5 2.5 7 2
West Lincoln - 4 - - 5.5 7 - -

- no units of this size available in this community
January 2018

Please note:

  • wait time information can fluctuate and is an approximation only
  • wait times may not reflect the actual time one may wait for affordable housing


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