Q3 (July 1 to September 30, 2020) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report July 1 to September 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
604 received & processed
Work Orders
2,656 issued
Capital Program
52 purchase orders issued
4 public tender closed
12 project ongoing
Rent Arrears
= $113,204.57
or 8.70% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 534 new referrals
Had partnerships with 6 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
63% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,663 units
3 new landlords
Niagara Renovates
  • Inspections are ongoing
  • 15 homeowners approved for funding
  • Welcome Home Niagara
    7 homeowners received assistance
    Housing First Project
    7 Individuals / families housed
    Appeals
    = 15
    12 upheld
    3 overturned
    New Development
    Hawkins/Dell
  • approximately 20% 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 Q3, 2,656 work orders were issued, representing $1,850,535.80. $42,806.95 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

      2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3
    # of work orders issued 3,111 3,675 2,575 2,303 2,656

    Work orders continue to be lower due to COVID-19; regular maintenance has resumed within COVID guidelines.

    CAPITAL PROGRAM:

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

    In Q3, 52 contract orders were issued and four public tenders closed.

    The Capital Program was responsible for 12 capital projects and 52 purchase orders valued at $1,825,000:

    • 12 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
      • 12 St. David’s Road East – building renovations
      • Various locations - upgrading heating systems
      • 300 Davy Street – parking lot replacement
      • 3874 Portage Road – parking lot replacement
    • 49 RFPs and RFQs – various consulting services, elevator investigations, health and safety repairs, structural repairs (roofing) and pavement retrofits

    As of September 30, 2020, $2,144,800 of the $8,454,858 budget (excluding emergency) has been committed and or actually spent (25%%).

    TENANT MOVE OUTS:

    Move Outs By Reason
    Health 8
    Long Term Care Facility 12
    Deceased 24
    Private Rental 12
    Voluntarily Left Under Notice 2
    Eviction – Tribunal 1
    NRH Transfer 9
    Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 1
    Bought a House 2
    Left Without Notice 2
    Other/None Given 17
    Cease to Qualify 0
    TOTAL 90

    In Q3, there were 90 move outs. One involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) for Arrears and was enforced by the Sherriff

      2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3
    # of move outs 57 71 62 57 90

    ARREARS:

    NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears but saw a continued increase in 2020-Q3 due to COVID-19 and tenants not paying rent due to the provincial no eviction order.

      Sept 30,
    2019
    Dec 31,
    2019
    Mar 31,
    2020
    Jun 30,
    2020
    Sept 30,
    2020
    Rent charges for
    the month
    $1,267,460.00 $1,286,793.00 $1,302,721.00 $1,289,907.00 $1,295,815.00
    Accumulated rent arrears $35,549,21 $36,134.21 $71,135.25 $110,958.69 $113,204.57
    Arrears % 2.80% 2.81% 5.46% 8.60% 8.74%

    INSURANCE:

    Nothing to report for Q3.

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

    Due to COVID-19, in Q3, we had partnerships with only six community agencies across Niagara. As a result of these partnerships, 15 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:

    • RAFT summer camps began in four NRH Public Housing communities (Old Pine Trail/Manchester/Rykert in St. Catharines and Warden and Waters in Niagara Falls) in July. They had 152 children attend and reported that there were no issues with adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
    • Faith Welland opened After School programs in Welland’s McLaughlin community in September, with scheduled in-person homework help for a maximum of three children and the delivery of craft/recipe kits
    • There was a dramatic increase in social issues attributed to anxieties and lack of supports related to COVID-19. Some communities experienced such disturbing social issues that NRH had to transfer several tenants and request that hearings to evict the perpetrators be prioritized at the Landlord Tenant Board, which reopened virtually in September.
    • Common Rooms were only open during High Heat alerts, with guidelines posted and increased cleaning.

    Also during Q3, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) offered supports to 534 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 35% were considered medium-high need, (e.g. child safety concerns, eviction, social issues, cognitive concerns). In particular, there was a continued increase in the number of tenants needing help with social issues, supports and referrals to other agencies, however most of these agencies were either virtual or unavailable due to COVID-19. CPCs reported that many tenants were uninterested or unable to access virtual supports.

    Eviction Prevention and supports have been extended to Housing Providers and the Rent Supplement program on a pilot basis through Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) funding. There is one full-time Community Program Coordinator (CPC) for Non-Profits/Co-operatives and one dedicated half to Rent Supplement and half to assisting with NRH-Owned units.


    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-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3
    Healthy 40 39 37 37 38
    Routine Monitoring 17 18 21 21 18
    Intensive Monitoring 1 1 0 0 2
    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

    Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance

    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. In Q3, there were 1,663 Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance units across Niagara.

    Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB)

    The COHB is a portable rent benefit that helps applicants on the Centralized Waiting List pay their rent to their current landlord in the private market. In Q3, 230 applications for were sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on behalf of Niagara residents in need of housing. To date, 206 have been accepted.

    In-Situ Rent Supplement

    An In-Situ Rent Supplement 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 Q3, NRH initiated new agreements with 3 new landlords.

      2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3
    Fort Erie 32 30 32 31 31
    Grimsby 24 22 18 22 21
    Lincoln (Beamsville) 11 13 14 14 12
    Niagara Falls 240 239 237 226 220
    Niagara-on-the-Lake 5 5 5 4 4
    Pelham 19 19 17 17 17
    Port Colborne 65 64 67 64 61
    St. Catharines 773 778 798 751 712
    Thorold 56 57 61 61 61
    Welland 200 198 192 259 302
    West Lincoln 15 16 16 16 16
    COHB Region-wide         206
    TOTAL 1,440 1,441 1,457 1,465 1,663

    Variance in the Rent Supplement program are a reflection of fluctuation between agreements ending and new agreements taken up with 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 all 3 streams of the program

    15 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 Q3, seven homeowners received assistance through Welcome Home Niagara.

      2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3
    # of homeowners assisted 6 7 4 5 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 Q3, seven individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program. Since 2012, Housing First has helped 467 individuals/families.

      2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3
    # individuals/families housed 15 16 13 9 7
    # of Housing First units (at quarter end) 197 202 199 201 195

    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

      Building A - 55 units
    • Masonry completed on 1st level
    • Structural steel installed for 1st level
    • Mechanical and electrical rough in work ongoing
    • 2nd floor Coreslab installed and grouted up to Gridline H (half of the building)

      Building B - 18 units
    • Foundations completed and site backfilled for concrete slab
    • Underground plumbing completed and inspected by city of Niagara Falls
    • Main level concrete slab poured
    • Masonry block installation started

    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 Q3, NRH began hearing appeals virtually. Adapting to this new process went well and 15 appeals were heard (12 upheld, 3 overturned).

      2019-Q3 2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3
    # of appeals 10 11 11 0 15

    6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

    APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

    # of Applications Received & Processed 604
    # of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 76
    # of Urgent Status Applications 88
    # of Homeless Status Applications 96
    # of Eligible Applications 581
    # of Ineligible Applications 23
    # of Cancelled Applications 315
    # of Applicants Housed 128

    In Q3, there was a 36% increase in the number of applications processed (compared to Q2) and 315 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-
    Q3
    2019-
    Q4
    2020-
    Q1
    2020-
    Q2
    2020-
    Q3
    # of households
    A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
      Niagara resident RGI waiting list 5,012 5,154 5,322 5,264 5,296
      Applicants from outside Niagara 897 977 1,045 1,078 1,129
    TOTAL RGI waiting list: 5,909 6,131 6,367 6,342 6,425
      Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit 747 742 739 723 702
    A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
      Seniors 2,362 2,455 2,514 2,487 2,506
      Adults no dependents 1,922 1,979 2,041 2,026 2,049
      Adults with dependents 1,625 1,697 1,812 1,829 1,870
    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 165 148 146 142 128
      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 130 142 152 144 135
      UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 1,007 1,075 1,145 1,119 1,134
      SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 12 16 23 10 11
    B In addition, NRH manages:
      Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 181 174 176 173 157
      Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 603 613 635 637 660
    TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 6,693 6,918 7,178 7,152 7,242
    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 752 784 810 805 808
    TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 7,445 7,702 7,988 7,157 8,050
    TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 13,059 13,587 14,197 14,180 14,429

    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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