Q4 (October 1 to December 31, 2019) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report October 1 to December 30, 2019 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
Chief Executive Officer
Walter Sendzik
Chair

Directors:

Walter Sendzik, Chair
Regional Councillor
St. Catharines
Gary Zalepa, Treasurer
Regional Councillor
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Tom Insinna
Regional Councillor
Fort Erie
James Hyatt, Vice-Chair
Community Director
St. Catharines
Betty Ann Baker
Community Director
St. Catharines
Betty Lou Souter
Community Director
St. Catharines
Karen Blackley, Secretary
Community Director
Thorold
Barbara Butters
Regional Councillor
Port Colborne
Leanne Villella
Regional Councillor
Welland

Highlights:

Appliction Activity
741 received & processed
Work Orders
3,675 issued
Capital Program
8 projects ongoing
51 contract orders issued
Rent Arrears
= $36,143.21
or 2.81% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 144 new referrals
Had partnerships with 43 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
65% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,441 units
Niagara Renovates
  • Inspections are complete
  • 55 homeowners will receive 2019/2020 funding
  • Welcome Home Niagara
    7 homeowners received assistance
    Housing First Project
    16 Individuals / families housed
    Appeals
    = 11
    6 upheld
    5 overturned
    New Development
    Carlton & Roach - complete
    Hawkins/Dell
  • demo Jan 2020
  • construction spring 2020
  • 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, 3,675 work orders were issued, representing $1,004,181. $65,866 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

      2018-Q4 2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4
    # of work orders issued 3,203 2,500 3,084 3,111 3,675

    CAPITAL PROGRAM:

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

    In Q4, 51 contract orders were issued and purchase orders issued $2,788,400

    The Capital Program was responsible for 7 capital projects valued at $2,788,400 including:

    • 2 projects - pavement retrofits
    • 2 projects – fencing replacements
    • 1 project – window and sealant replacements
    • 1 project – curtain wall and sealant replacements
    • 1 project – shingle roof replacement
    • 1 project – window replacements
    • 22 RFP's and RFQ's - various investigations, health and safety repairs, emergency repairs, structural repairs and pavement retrofits

    As of December 31, 2019, $9,800,000 of the $11.7 budgeted (excluding emergency) has been committed and or actually spent (85%).

    TENANT MOVE OUTS:

    Move Outs By Reason
    Health 6
    Long Term Care Facility 10
    Deceased 11
    Private Rental 9
    Voluntarily Left Under Notice 4
    Eviction – Tribunal 6
    NRH Transfer 5
    Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 0
    Bought a House 0
    Left Without Notice 5
    Other/None Given 15
    Cease to Qualify 0
    TOTAL 71

    In Q4, there were 71 move outs. Six involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) – Arrears (five), Disturbances N5 (one). Five of the evictions were enforced by the Sherriff.

      2018-Q4 2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4
    # of move outs 65 51 86 57 71

    ARREARS:

    NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears, which remained consistent throughout 2019.

      Dec 31,
    2018
    Mar 31,
    2019
    Jun 30,
    2019
    Sept 30,
    2019
    Dec 31,
    2019
    Rent charges for
    the month
    $1,187,770.00 $1,203,317.00 $1,257,090.00 $1,267,460.00 $1,286,793.00
    Accumulated rent arrears $24,135.76 $35,736.89 $34,004.39 $35,549,21 $36,134.21
    Arrears % 2.03% 2.97% 2.71% 2.80% 2.81%

    INSURANCE:

    Nothing to report in Q4.

    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:

    • NRH launched a new partnership with Niagara College in the integrated (non-family, aged 16 and over) buildings on Scott Street in St. Catharines. Scott Street has been a challenging community for a number of years, housing many tenants with mental health and addiction issues. At times, these vulnerable tenants were targeted by drug dealers and had to choose between nefarious friendships or isolation within their units. NRH worked with Niagara Regional Police to stop the criminal activity at the building and is now working with Niagara College to provide support and positive activities. Niagara College provides a supervisor for the Recreation and Social Service Worker students who are gaining valuable experience working with low-income, often vulnerable, populations. NRH tenants benefit from life skills workshops and positive interactions with each other. Together, NRH, Niagara College and the Scott Street tenants are rebuilding Scott Street into a safe, pleasant place to live.

    Also during Q4, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) offered support to 144 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 65% were considered medium-high need, (e.g. child safety concerns, eviction, social issues, cognitive concerns). In particular, there was an increase in the number of tenants needing help with clutter and bed bugs.


    2. Non-Profit Housing Programs

    As administrator of social housing for Niagara Region, NRH provides legislative oversight for 60 Non-Profit Housing Programs (non-profit and co-operative). Operational Reviews are conducted to determine the overall health of each.

      2018-Q4 2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4
    Healthy 40 40 40 40 39
    Routine Monitoring 17 18 17 17 18
    Intensive Monitoring 2 0 1 1 1
    Pre-PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
    PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
    TOTAL 61 60 60 60 60

    NRH Housing Programs staff continue to work with Federal Housing Providers as they move toward End of Operating Agreements (EOA).

    3. Rent Supplement Program

    In Q4, there were 1,441 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.

      2018-Q4 2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4
    Fort Erie 28 26 32 32 30
    Grimsby 26 34 26 24 22
    Lincoln (Beamsville) 11 11 11 11 13
    Niagara Falls 230 235 239 240 239
    Niagara-on-the-Lake -- 4 5 5 5
    Pelham 21 20 19 19 19
    Port Colborne 53 67 62 65 64
    St. Catharines 732 741 780 773 778
    Thorold 53 57 61 56 57
    Welland 201 209 203 200 198
    West Lincoln 15 15 15 15 16
    TOTAL 1,370 1,419 1,453 1,440 1,441

    Variance in the Rent Supplement program are a reflection of fluctuation between agreements ending and new agreements taken up with landlords.

    An In-Situ Rent Supplement Program Program has been developed to engage new landlords and offer applicants on the Centralized Waiting List an opportunity to receive Rent-Geared-to-Income assistance where they currently live. This removes the need for moving related expenses and broadens the network of landlords in business with NRH.

    In Q4, NRH initiated new agreements with 12 new landlords.

    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 2019-2020 funding are 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 provided to the homeowner.

    NRH received $600,000 through the Investment in Affordable Housing - Extension (IAH-E) program for homeowner and secondary suite repairs and $311,015 for multi-unit repairs, totaling $911,015 for the 2019/2020 period.

    NRH received an additional $376,370 through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) for homeowner and housing provider renovations and repairs for the 2019/2020 period.

    55 homeowners have been approved for funding.

    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.

    NRH received $180,000 through the Investment in Affordable Housing - Extension (IAH-E) program for the 2019/2020 period, with $100,000 of that allocated to Habitat for Humanity Niagara.

    In Q4, seven homeowners received assistance through Welcome Home Niagara. One of these was an NRH tenant.

      2018-Q4 2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4
    # of homeowners assisted 19 0 4 6 7

    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, 15 individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program. Since 2012, Housing First has helped 438 individuals/families.

      2018-Q4 2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4
    # individuals/families housed 27 10 23 15 16
    # of Housing First units (at quarter end) 184 189 198 197 202

    17 of these Housing First units were created with NRH’s new development at 527 Carlton Street in St. Catharines.

    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 $2,888,000 23
       Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF), Year 1 $2,387,817 17
    Roach Avenue, Welland    
       Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF), Year 1 $1,200,000 8
    Hawkins Street/Dell Avenue, Niagara Falls    
       Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) $3,000,000 20
       Regional Development Charges / NRH Reserves $17,090,000 53
    TOTAL $32,371,817 166

      Roach Avenue
    • Project substantial completion on October 28
    • Facility has been turned over to operations November 1
    • Tenants started moving in November 1

      Hawkins Street/Dell Avenue
    • Public Information Session was held November 12, 2019
    • Second submission of Site Plan Drawings submitted to the City of Niagara Falls
    • Site Plan Agreement scheduled for approval in January 2020
    • Development meeting scheduled for January 7, 2020
    • Class B Cost Report for development scheduled to commence mid-January
    • Six of 12 housing units have been demolished, removal of debris in progress – scheduled to be complete at the end of January 2020
    • Detail development of drawings are approximately 60% complete
    • Construction of project is scheduled to begin in spring 2020

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

      Stamford Kiwanis
    • Substantial completion November 22, 2019

    5. Service Manager Responsibilities

    APPEALS:

    In Q4, 11 appeals were heard (one less than in 2018-Q4).

    • Seven related to ongoing RGI eligibility
      • Two Housing Provider appeals for failure to notify of changes (guests) – one UPHELD, one OVERTURNED
      • Four for failure to provide information – three UPHELD (one with conditions), one OVERTURNED
      • One overhoused household for refusing final offer – OVERTURNED
    • Four for decisions made by Housing Access
      • One Urgent Status – OVERTURNED
      • One overhoused household (Market-RGI policy) – OVERTURNED
      • Two extra bedroom – UPHELD

      2018-Q4 2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4
    # of appeals 12 10 12 10 11

    6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

    APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

    # of Applications Received & Processed 741
    # of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 103
    # of Urgent Status Applications 130
    # of Homeless Status Applications 158
    # of Eligible Applications 707
    # of Ineligible Applications 34
    # of Cancelled Applications 238
    # of Applicants Housed 156

    In Q4, 238 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:

      2018-
    Q4
    2019-
    Q1
    2019-
    Q2
    2019-
    Q3
    2019-
    Q4
    # of households
    A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
      Niagara resident RGI waiting list 4,616 4,715 4,926 5,012 5,154
      Applicants from outside Niagara 761 793 849 897 977
    TOTAL RGI waiting list: 5,377 5,508 5,775 5,909 6,131
      Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit 639 704 742 747 742
    A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
      Seniors 2,218 2,257 2,344 2,362 2,455
      Adults no dependents 1,761 1,805 1,881 1,922 1,979
      Adults with dependents 1,398 1,446 1,550 1,625 1,697
    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 131 128 148 165 148
      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 116 117 109 130 142
      UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 954 971 1,012 1,007 1,075
      SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 13 15 11 12 16
    B In addition, NRH manages:
      Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 168 180 176 181 174
      Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 535 564 573 603 613
    TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 6,080 6,252 6,524 6,693 6,918
    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 647 667 723 752 784
    TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 6,727 6,919 7,274 7,445 7,702
    TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 11,488 11,884 12,577 13,059 13,587

    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 - 10 3 10 2 2 5 -
    Grimsby - 5 - - - - - -
    Lincoln - 4 - 9 10 9 - -
    Niagara Falls 5 6 - 17 8 3 11 15
    Niagara-on-the-Lake - 5.5 - - - - - -
    Pelham - 10 - - - - - -
    Port Colborne - 5 - 11 4 4 3 -
    St. Catharines - 6.5 9 13 3.5 4 10 11
    Thorold - 9 - 11 6 10 - -
    Welland - 5.5 6 15 7 2.5 7 6
    West Lincoln - 4.5 - - 7 5 - -

    - no units of this size available in this community

    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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