Q2 (April 1 to June 30, 2020) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report April 1 to June 30, 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
444 received & processed
Work Orders
2,302 issued
Capital Program
37 purchase orders issued
1 public tender closed
6 project ongoing
Rent Arrears
= $110,958.69
or 8.60% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 742 new referrals
Had partnerships with 44 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
62% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,465 units
10 new landlords
Niagara Renovates
  • Inspections have started up again
  • 8 homeowners approved for funding
  • Welcome Home Niagara
    5 homeowners received assistance 1 was an NRH tenant
    Housing First Project
    9 Individuals / families housed
    Appeals
    = 0
    on hold due to COVID-19
    New Development
    Hawkins/Dell
  • Tambro broke ground on June 17
  • 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, 2,302 work orders were issued, representing $638,074.15. $11,595.81 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

      2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2
    # of work orders issued 3,084 3,111 3,675 2,575 2,303

    CAPITAL PROGRAM:

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

    In Q2, 37 contract orders were issued and purchase orders issued and one public tender closed.

    The Capital Program was responsible for six capital projects and 37 purchase orders valued at $576,271:

    • six projects
      • Carlton Street – replacement of balconies and railings
      • 4900 Buckley – exterior insulation and finish system – canopies
      • 52 Ormond – building renovations
      • 10 Old Pine Trail – bathroom replacements (currently on hold)
      • Powerview/Galbraith/Wallace – bathrooms
    • 37 RFPs and RFQs – various consulting services, elevator investigations, health and safety repairs, structural repairs (roofing) and pavement retrofits

    As of June 30, 2020, $517,409 of the $8,454,858 budget (excluding emergency) has been committed and or actually spent (6.12%).

    TENANT MOVE OUTS:

    Move Outs By Reason
    Health 2
    Long Term Care Facility 10
    Deceased 15
    Private Rental 5
    Voluntarily Left Under Notice 1
    Eviction – Tribunal 0
    NRH Transfer 7
    Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 0
    Bought a House 1
    Left Without Notice 2
    Other/None Given 14
    Cease to Qualify 0
    TOTAL 57

    In Q2, there were 57 move outs. None involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB)

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

    ARREARS:

    NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears but saw an increase in 2020-Q2 due to COVID-19 and tenant job loss while they await provincial benefits.

      Jun 30,
    2019
    Sept 30,
    2019
    Dec 31,
    2019
    Mar 31,
    2020
    Jun 30,
    2020
    Rent charges for
    the month
    $1,257,090.00 $1,267,460.00 $1,286,793.00 $1,302,721.00 $1,289,907.00
    Accumulated rent arrears $34,004.39 $35,549,21 $36,134.21 $71,135.25 $110,958.69
    Arrears % 2.71% 2.80% 2.81% 5.46% 8.60%

    INSURANCE:

    In Q2, there was one claim settled, two claims expected to exceed the $25,000 deductible and three statement of claims served.

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

    In Q2, 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:

    • On-site community events, programs, workshops and activities were cancelled during the pandemic in accordance with provincial guidelines, however many partners found creative solutions to assist tenants during the lockdown.
      • The RAFT and Faith Welland distributed activity kits to family communities to keep children engaged in positive activities while after school programming was closed
      • Faith Welland gave out adult workbooks and hosted virtual competitions to reduce isolation in seniors communities
      • The Caring and Connecting Pen Pal Initiative provided pen pal letters that were warmly received by seniors
      • CyberSeniors and Castle promoted virtual activities and workshops for tenants who have internet access
      • Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold donated care packages to a high-risk seniors building with no on-site supports. The packages included masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, gift certificates for taxis and groceries and a note of support from Community Care.

    NRH is working with partners to determine how to safely open in-person programs as soon as possible.

    Also during Q2, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) made 538 wellness calls to check on tenants who are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic and offered supports to 742 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 43% 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, referrals to other agencies and social issues.


    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-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2
    Healthy 40 40 39 37 37
    Routine Monitoring 17 17 18 21 21
    Intensive Monitoring 1 1 1 0 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 Housing Providers as they move toward End of Operating Agreements (EOA) / End of Mortgage (EOM).

    3. Rent Supplement Program

    In Q2, there were 1,465 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-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2
    Fort Erie 32 32 30 32 31
    Grimsby 26 24 22 18 22
    Lincoln (Beamsville) 11 11 13 14 14
    Niagara Falls 239 240 239 237 226
    Niagara-on-the-Lake 5 5 5 5 4
    Pelham 19 19 19 17 17
    Port Colborne 62 65 64 67 64
    St. Catharines 780 773 778 798 751
    Thorold 61 56 57 61 61
    Welland 203 200 198 192 259
    West Lincoln 15 15 16 16 16
    TOTAL 1,453 1,440 1,441 1,457 1,465

    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 Q2, NRH initiated new agreements with 10 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.

    In April 2020, NRH received $100,000 through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) program.

    In Q2, five homeowners received assistance through Welcome Home Niagara. One of these was an NRH tenant.

      2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2
    # of homeowners assisted 4 6 7 4 5

    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, nine individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program. Since 2012, Housing First has helped 460 individuals/families.

      2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2
    # individuals/families housed 23 15 16 13 9
    # of Housing First units (at quarter end) 198 197 202 199 201

    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

    Hawkins Street/Dell Avenue, Niagara Falls    
       Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) $3,600,000  
       NRH Reserves $3,061,500  
       Regional Development Charges $14,132,500  
       Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation Seed Funding $106,000  
    TOTAL $20,900,000 73

      Hawkins Street/Dell Avenue
    • Kickoff meeting with Tambro & Construction team held May 28 via zoom
    • Consultant kickoff meeting held June 8 via zoom
    • Issued for Construction (IFC) drawings released by Raimondo and distributed to construction team June 10
    • Building Permits obtained June 12
    • Tambro site mobilization started the week of June 15
    • Tambro broke ground on site June 17
    • Contract documents signed by NRH June 29
    • Achieved milestones required for the release of 50% of Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) funding (documents have been submitted)
    • Site trailer set up on Building A site (north east corner of lot)
    • Fencing (ready fence and silt fence) installed around the perimeters of both sites
    • Surveying completed (benchmarks, building locations, property lines)
    • Site shaping/grading – top soil removed from both sites; Building A parking lot has been brought down to sub-base and is ready for base prep
    • Conflicting trees have been removed from site via Tambro
    • Storm and sanitary piping delivered to site
    • Water main has been connected to the city main and roughed into building location (stubbed up in mechanical room location)
    • Started excavation for footings at Building A

    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*
    Note: there are no affordable housing units in Wainfleet
    *166 New Development units are NRH Owned

    5. Service Manager Responsibilities

    APPEALS:

    In Q2, no appeals were heard - they have been on hold due to COVID-19 but will be resuming virtually in Q3.

      2019-Q2 2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2
    # of appeals 12 10 11 11 0

    6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

    APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

    # of Applications Received & Processed 444
    # of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 65
    # of Urgent Status Applications 78
    # of Homeless Status Applications 100
    # of Eligible Applications 425
    # of Ineligible Applications 19
    # of Cancelled Applications 316
    # of Applicants Housed 116

    In Q2, 316 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-
    Q2
    2019-
    Q3
    2019-
    Q4
    2020-
    Q1
    2020-
    Q2
    # of households
    A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
      Niagara resident RGI waiting list 4,926 5,012 5,154 5,322 5,264
      Applicants from outside Niagara 849 897 977 1,045 1,078
    TOTAL RGI waiting list: 5,775 5,909 6,131 6,367 6,342
      Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit 742 747 742 739 723
    A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
      Seniors 2,344 2,362 2,455 2,514 2,487
      Adults no dependents 1,881 1,922 1,979 2,041 2,026
      Adults with dependents 1,550 1,625 1,697 1,812 1,829
    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 148 165 148 146 142
      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 109 130 142 152 144
      UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 1,012 1,007 1,075 1,145 1,119
      SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 11 12 16 23 10
    B In addition, NRH manages:
      Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 176 181 174 176 173
      Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 573 603 613 635 637
    TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 6,524 6,693 6,918 7,178 7,152
    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 723 752 784 810 805
    TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 7,274 7,445 7,702 7,988 7,157
    TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 12,577 13,059 13,587 14,197 14,180

    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 - 11 3 7 2 2 6 -
    Grimsby - 5 - - - - - -
    Lincoln - 6 - 10 6 10 - -
    Niagara Falls 5 7 - 18 5 5 12 16
    Niagara-on-the-Lake - 6 - - - - - -
    Port Colborne - 8 - 12 5 3 4 -
    St. Catharines - 5 9 16 3 3 3 11
    Thorold - 7 - 13 3 11 - -
    Welland - 6 7 16 7 3 8 7
    West Lincoln - 5 - - 10 6 - -

    - 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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