Q1 (January 1 to March 31, 2020) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report January 1 to March 31, 2020 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
678 received & processed
Work Orders
2,575 issued
Capital Program
42 purchase orders issued
1 public tender closed
1 project ongoing
Rent Arrears
= $71,135.25
or 5.46% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 327 new referrals
Had partnerships with 43 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
62% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,457 units
Niagara Renovates
  • Inspections on hold due to COVID-19
  • 8 homeowners approved for funding
  • Welcome Home Niagara
    4 homeowners received assistance 1 was an NRH tenant
    Housing First Project
    13 Individuals / families housed
    Appeals
    = 11
    7 upheld
    4 overturned
    New Development
    Hawkins/Dell
  • Demolition complete
  • Construction - spring 2020 but may be delayed due to COVID-19
  • 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, 2,575 work orders were issued, representing $905,371.35. $39,965.18 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

      2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1
    # of work orders issued 2,500 3,084 3,111 3,675 2,575

    CAPITAL PROGRAM:

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

    In Q1, 42 contract orders were issued and purchase orders issued $1,569,627.

    The Capital Program was responsible for 41 capital projects valued at $1,569,627:

    • one project - replacement of balconies and railings
    • 41 RFP's and RFQ's - various investigations, health and safety repairs, emergency repairs, structural repairs and pavement retrofits

    As of March 31, 2020, $1,569,627 of the $11.7 budgeted (excluding emergency) has been committed and or actually spent (13.41%).

    TENANT MOVE OUTS:

    Move Outs By Reason
    Health 3
    Long Term Care Facility 12
    Deceased 12
    Private Rental 4
    Voluntarily Left Under Notice 1
    Eviction – Tribunal 2
    NRH Transfer 14
    Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 2
    Bought a House 1
    Left Without Notice 1
    Other/None Given 10
    Cease to Qualify 0
    TOTAL 62

    In Q1, there were 62 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.

      2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1
    # of move outs 51 86 57 71 62

    ARREARS:

    NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears but saw an increase in 2020-Q1 due to COVID-19 and tenant job loss while they await provincial benefits.

      Mar 31,
    2019
    Jun 30,
    2019
    Sept 30,
    2019
    Dec 31,
    2019
    Mar 31,
    2020
    Rent charges for
    the month
    $1,203,317.00 $1,257,090.00 $1,267,460.00 $1,286,793.00 $1,302,721.00
    Accumulated rent arrears $35,736.89 $34,004.39 $35,549,21 $36,134.21 $71,135.25
    Arrears % 2.97% 2.71% 2.80% 2.81% 5.46%

    INSURANCE:

    In Q1, there were four property damage claims awaiting final costs with payout pending.

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

    In Q1, 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 began working with local partners to bring the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program to eligible low-income seniors in NRH communities. Quest Health Centres, Centre De Sante and Bridges Health Centre facilitated presentations and applications for the program, which will provide dental benefits to seniors who do not have access through other government programs such as Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Ontario Works (OW) or Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB).

    Also during Q1, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) offered support to 327 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 59% 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 supports and referrals to other agencies.


    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.

      2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1
    Healthy 40 40 40 39 37
    Routine Monitoring 18 17 17 18 21
    Intensive Monitoring 0 1 1 1 0
    Pre-PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
    PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
    TOTAL 60 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 Q1, there were 1,457 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.

      2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1
    Fort Erie 26 32 32 30 32
    Grimsby 34 26 24 22 18
    Lincoln (Beamsville) 11 11 11 13 14
    Niagara Falls 235 239 240 239 237
    Niagara-on-the-Lake 4 5 5 5 5
    Pelham 20 19 19 19 17
    Port Colborne 67 62 65 64 67
    St. Catharines 741 780 773 778 798
    Thorold 57 61 56 57 61
    Welland 209 203 200 198 192
    West Lincoln 15 15 15 16 16
    TOTAL 1,419 1,453 1,440 1,441 1,457

    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 Q1, NRH initiated new agreements with thirteen 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 new applicants for the 2020-2021 funding cycle have been placed on hold due to COVID-19. Inspections of completed work are being verified by homeowner photographs and formal inspections will take place as soon as possible and will include all areas inside and outside of the home to ensure compliance with program guidelines. Issues will be identified and a detailed Inspection Report provided to the homeowner.

    NRH received $545,920 through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) for homeowner and housing provider renovations and repairs for the 2019/2020 period.

    Eight homeowners have been approved for funding at this time and NRH is working toward re-opening these programs as we become more proficient at working under the COVID-19 rules.

    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 $200,000 through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) program in September 2019 to be committed by March 2020.

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

      2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1
    # of homeowners assisted 0 4 6 7 4

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

      2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1
    # individuals/families housed 10 23 15 16 13
    # of Housing First units (at quarter end) 189 198 197 202 199

    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
    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 $20,090,000 73

      Hawkins Street/Dell Avenue
    • Demolition of 12 houses complete
    • Updated Topographical Survey complete
    • Pre-qualification Tender of General Contractors closed on February 20 – 16 submitted proposals, seven were pre-qualified, six are predicted to tender
    • Class B Cost Report was completed and issued on March 2
    • Development Committee Meeting held on March 12
    • Drawings and specifications completed on March 16
    • Permit Application submitted on March 24
    • Site Plan Agreement approved then registered by the City of Niagara Falls on March 30
    • Investigating receipt of building permit prior to April 4
    • Construction Tender Package issued on March 16 and will close on April 21
    • Nine addendums issued thus far
    • Tender Committee Meeting to be determined and pending review, construction contract recommendation to the NRH board
    • Construction scheduled to start in late May or early June but may be delayed due to COVID-19 and provincial restrictions

    Affordable Housing Unit #'s by Municipality

      NRH Owned Housing Providers Rent Supplement New Development
    Fort Erie 116 389 31 0
    Grimsby 55 0 22 0
    Lincoln (Beamsville) 61 41 12 0
    Niagara Falls 884 828 239 140
    NOTL 40 0 5 0
    Pelham 0 0 19 0
    Port Colborne 88 139 64 35
    St. Catharines 1,017 1,666 775 346
    Thorold 29 85 57 46
    Welland 394 425 194 167
    West Lincoln (Smithville) 0 86 15 0
    Region-wide 2,684 3,659 1,433 734

    5. Service Manager Responsibilities

    APPEALS:

    In Q1, 11 appeals were heard (one more than in 2019-Q1). These appeals had to be postponed in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    • Four related to ongoing RGI eligibility for failure to provide information (one with illegal occupants) – one UPHELD, three OVERTURNED (two with conditions)
    • Two related to review of rent charge – both UPHELD
    • Five for Urgent Status decisions made by Housing Access – four UPHELD, one OVERTURNED

      2019-Q1 2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1
    # of appeals 10 12 10 11 11

    6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

    APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

    # of Applications Received & Processed 678
    # of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 85
    # of Urgent Status Applications 103
    # of Homeless Status Applications 150
    # of Eligible Applications 656
    # of Ineligible Applications 22
    # of Cancelled Applications 216
    # of Applicants Housed 119

    In Q1, 216 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:

      2019-
    Q1
    2019-
    Q2
    2019-
    Q3
    2019-
    Q4
    2020-
    Q1
    # of households
    A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
      Niagara resident RGI waiting list 4,715 4,926 5,012 5,154 5,322
      Applicants from outside Niagara 793 849 897 977 1,045
    TOTAL RGI waiting list: 5,508 5,775 5,909 6,131 6,367
      Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit 704 742 747 742 739
    A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
      Seniors 2,257 2,344 2,362 2,455 2,514
      Adults no dependents 1,805 1,881 1,922 1,979 2,041
      Adults with dependents 1,446 1,550 1,625 1,697 1,812
    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 128 148 165 148 146
      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 117 109 130 142 152
      UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 971 1,012 1,007 1,075 1,145
      SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 15 11 12 16 23
    B In addition, NRH manages:
      Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 180 176 181 174 176
      Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 564 573 603 613 635
    TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 6,252 6,524 6,693 6,918 7,178
    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 667 723 752 784 810
    TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 6,919 7,274 7,445 7,702 7,988
    TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 11,884 12,577 13,059 13,587 14,197

    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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