Q4 (October 1 to December 31, 2020) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report October 1 to December 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
652 received & processed
Work Orders
2,500 issued
Capital Program
46 purchase orders issued
11 public tender closed
18 project ongoing
Rent Arrears
= $115,555.927
or 8.80% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 378 new referrals
Had partnerships with 10 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
61% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,668 units
4 new landlords
Niagara Renovates
  • Inspections are ongoing
  • 18 homeowners approved for funding
  • Welcome Home Niagara
    7 homeowners received assistance
    Housing First Project
    13 Individuals / families housed
    Appeals
    = 15
    10 upheld
    5 overturned
    New Development
    Hawkins/Dell
  • approximately 40% 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 Q4, 2,500 work orders were issued, representing $1,217,889.51. $25,144.92 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

      2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3 2020-Q4
    # of work orders issued 3,675 2,575 2,303 2,656 2,500

    During Q4, work orders continued to be lower due to COVID-19; regular maintenance had 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 Q4, 46 purchase orders were issued and 11 publid tenders closed.

    The Capital Program was responsible for 18 capital projects and 46 purchase orders valued at $2,851,445,000:

    • 18 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
      • Powerview Avenue/Galbraith Street/Wallace Street – 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
      • 124 Elmview Street and 211 King Street - elevator modifications
    • 40 RFPs and RFQs – various consulting services, elevator investigations, health and safety repairs, structural repairs (roofing) and pavement retrofits

    As of December 31, 2020, $4,722,189 of the $8,454,858 budget (excluding emergency) has been committed and or actually spent (56%).

    TENANT MOVE OUTS:

    Move Outs By Reason
    Health 2
    Long Term Care Facility 5
    Deceased 23
    Private Rental 10
    Voluntarily Left Under Notice 1
    Eviction – Tribunal 2
    NRH Transfer 5
    Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 1
    Bought a House 0
    Left Without Notice 3
    Other/None Given 16
    Cease to Qualify 0
    TOTAL 68

    In Q4, there were 68 move outs. Two involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) for Arrears and was enforced by the Sherriff

      2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3 2020-Q4
    # of move outs 71 62 57 90 68

    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.

      Dec 31,
    2019
    Mar 31,
    2020
    Jun 30,
    2020
    Sept 30,
    2020
    Dec 31,
    2020
    Rent charges for
    the month
    $1,286,793.00 $1,302,721.00 $1,289,907.00 $1,295,815.00 $1,309,353.00
    Accumulated rent arrears $36,134.21 $71,135.25 $110,958.69 $113,204.57 $115,555.92
    Arrears % 2.81% 5.46% 8.60% 8.74% 8.80%

    INSURANCE:

    Nothing to report for Q4.

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

    Due to COVID-19, in Q4, we had partnerships with only 10 community agencies across Niagara. As a result of these partnerships, 194 units1 of 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:

    1Tracking for support and enrichment activities has changed – we are now tracking it by units. Each time a partner is in a community providing a support and enrichment program or activity, it is counted as one unit.

    • 136 refurbished computers were delivered to tenants along with information about the CyberSeniors partnership that offers workshops and programs on-line
    • RAFT began to provide “Drive Through After School Programs”, which involved children walking through the Community to chat with RAFT staff while they pick up snack and craft bags
    • Instead of the traditional Christmas parties, NRH and partners (RAFT, Faith Welland, Community Support Services Niagara, Niagara College) delivered Christmas bags, gifts and lunches directly to households
    • Faith Welland engaged NRH seniors in their “Letters to Santa” project in family communities, with the seniors volunteering to assist with answering the childrens’ letters
    • As a result of a considerable mask donation to Niagara Region, NRH began delivering packages of 50 disposable masks to every NRH household. NRH’s Niagara College Security Student has been delivering them while he walks the communities, reminding tenants of the COVID guidelines and answering questions.

    Also during Q4, NRH Community Programs Coordinators (CPCs) offered supports to 378 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 55% 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.

    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 59 Non-Profit Housing Programs (non-profit and co-operative). Operational Reviews are conducted to determine the overall health of each.

      2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3 2020-Q4
    Healthy 39 37 37 38 36
    Routine Monitoring 18 21 21 18 18
    Intensive Monitoring 1 0 0 2 3
    Pre-PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
    PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
    TOTAL 60 60 60 60 59

    NRH Housing Programs staff continue to work with Housing Providers as they move toward End of Operating Agreements (EOA) / End of Mortgage (EOM). ON December 31st , 2020 Joi de Vivre reached End of Agreement of their federal subsidy, this provider supplied 40 units of affordable housing. By way of a new agreement, NRH will maintain its support for Joi de Vivre by subsidizing 15 Rent Supplement Units in order to help preserve these affordable housing in Niagara.

    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 1,668 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. At the end of 2020, 245 of these applications had 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 Q4, NRH initiated new agreements with 4 new landlords.

      2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3 2020-Q4
    Fort Erie 30 32 31 31 30
    Grimsby 22 18 22 21 21
    Lincoln (Beamsville) 13 14 14 12 12
    Niagara Falls 239 237 226 220 213
    Niagara-on-the-Lake 5 5 4 4 8
    Pelham 19 17 17 17 17
    Port Colborne 64 67 64 61 60
    St. Catharines 778 798 751 712 701
    Thorold 57 61 61 61 61
    Welland 198 192 259 302 284
    West Lincoln 16 16 16 16 16
    COHB Region-wide       206 245
    TOTAL 1,441 1,457 1,465 1,663 1,668

    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

    18 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 Q4, seven homeowners received assistance through Welcome Home Niagara.

      2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3 2020-Q4
    # of homeowners assisted 7 4 5 7 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, 13 individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program. Since 2012, Housing First has helped 467 individuals/families.

      2019-Q4 2020-Q1 2020-Q2 2020-Q3 2020-Q4
    # individuals/families housed 16 13 9 7 13
    # of Housing First units (at quarter end) 202 199 201 195 187

    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 block completed on 3rd floor – parapets 90% complete
    • Roof Corelsab installed
    • Electrical in-suite wiring started on 1st floor
    • Steel stud framing started on 3rd floor
    • Hydro ductbank installed

      Building B - 18 units
    • Masonry block completed on 3rd floor – parapets 90% complete
    • Roof Corelsab installed
    • 3rd floor concrete topping installed
    • Wall framing completed on 2nd floor
    • Hydro ductbank installed

    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 Q4, NRH continued to hear appeals virtually. This process has been going well and 15 appeals were heard (10 upheld, 5 overturned).

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

    INVESTMENTS:

    N/A


    6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

    APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

    # of Applications Received & Processed 652
    # of Special Provincial Priority Status Applications 66
    # of Urgent Status Applications 94
    # of Homeless Status Applications 98
    # of Eligible Applications 630
    # of Ineligible Applications 22
    # of Cancelled Applications 225
    # of Applicants Housed 111

    In Q4, 225 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-
    Q4
    2020-
    Q1
    2020-
    Q2
    2020-
    Q3
    2020-
    Q4
    # of households
    A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
      Niagara resident RGI waiting list 5,154 5,322 5,264 5,296 5,425
      Applicants from outside Niagara 977 1,045 1,078 1,129 1,173
    TOTAL RGI waiting list: 6,131 6,367 6,342 6,425 6,598
      Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit 742 739 723 702 669
    A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
      Seniors 2,455 2,514 2,487 2,506 2,557
      Adults no dependents 1,979 2,041 2,026 2,049 2,137
      Adults with dependents 1,697 1,812 1,829 1,870 1,904
    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 148 146 142 128 132
      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 142 152 144 135 153
      UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 1,075 1,145 1,119 1,134 1,146
      SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 16 23 10 11 11
    B In addition, NRH manages:
      Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 174 176 173 157 145
      Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 613 635 637 660 656
    TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 6,918 7,178 7,152 7,242 7,399
    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 784 810 805 808 829
    TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 7,702 7,988 7,157 8,050 8,228
    TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 13,587 14,197 14,180 14,429 14,737

    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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