Social Housing Services Corporation
The Social Housing Services Corporation (SHSC) (2002-2012) operated in the Province of Ontario, Canada to provide group services for social housing providers (public housing, non-profit housing and co-operative housing) following the downloading of responsibility for over 270,000 social housing units to local municipalities. SHSC was a non-profit corporation governed by a board of municipal, non-profit and co-op housing representatives. Its mandate was to provide Ontario housing providers and service managers with bulk purchasing, insurance, investment and information services that add significant value to their operations.
The Social Housing Reform Act, 2000 was criticized by housing advocates such as the Advocacy Centre for Tenants in Toronto (ACTO) for its "lack of commitment to funding for new affordable housing." It was replaced by the Housing Services Act, 2011 , a "cornerstone of the Ontario's long-term affordable housing strategy.
Its successor, Housing Services Corporation (HSC) addresses the evolving needs of its clients under the revised Housing Services Act. "HSC builds on SHSC’s 9 years of experience in delivering programs to social housing and working with different levels of government, the public and the private sector."
The History of SHSC
For a decade, the SHSC, offered a dedicated insurance program for social housing providers, bulk gas purchasing and an innovative energy efficiency retrofit program which coordinated energy audits, expertise, funding, bulk purchasing of energy-efficient goods, training and education, and data evaluation through its three subsidiaries—SOHO Tenant Insurance, SHSC Financial Inc. and GLOBE (Green Light on a Better Environment).
SHSC managed and provided investment advice to housing providers on capital reserves valued at more than $390 million. Working closely with other housing sector organizations and non-governmental organizations, SHSC also supported and developed independent housing-related research.The Social Housing Services Corporation was created in January 2002 and officially began its mandate on May 1, 2002. SHSC was created as an independent corporation under the Social Housing Reform Act, 2000 to provide housing-related services for municipal service managers and social housing providers across Ontario. The Social Housing Reform Act, 2000 was repealed in 2012.
In 1997, the Government of Ontario announced that social housing programs (public housing, non-profit housing and rent supplement programs) administered by the province would be devolved to the municipal level under an initiative called Local Services Realignment.
In 2000, the province passed legislation to devolve social housing to the municipal level. This legislation, the [Social Housing Reform Act, 2000], established the Social Housing Services Corporation to administer certain programs province-wide on behalf of service managers and social housing providers.
SHSC Financial Inc.
SHSC Financial Inc.(SHSC FI) manages four investment funds with Phillips, Hager & North as portfolio advisor. The Social Housing Investment Program offers housing providers investment vehicles and a comprehensive education program. SHSC FI provides the tools and training on capital reserve planning and cash management to help housing providers take an active role in maximizing their investments.
The Social Housing Investment Program offers a range of short, medium and long-term investment vehicles designed to meet the specific needs of housing providers. The program meets these needs in the following ways:
- giving providers a wider range of vehicles for their money, with both long and short-term investments
- access to professional money management and expert advice
- a low management expense ratio
- funds designed to meet providers' needs and interests
- the ability to adapt to changing needs over time
- funds overseen by a board where providers are represented
- the opportunity to link investments with education and training to meet providers' needs
- specialized communications to support the program
SoHo Insurance Inc.
SoHo Insurance Inc. is an insurance brokerage created in late 2005 to develop insurance products specifically designed to address the needs of Ontario’s social housing community. In early 2008, SoHo launched its tenant insurance program – a low-cost insurance option for residents of social housing.
SoHo Insurance Inc. is led by a board of directors made up of representatives from the social housing sector including municipalities, non profit housing, District Social Services Administration Boards and cooperative housing.
GLOBE (Green Light on a Better Environment)
GLOBE (Green Light on a Better Environment) is a program to support conservation in the social housing sector.
In 2005, SHSC began to investigate the impact of rising utility costs and the opportunities to assist the affordable housing sector in responding to the challenges. SHSC was able to bring attention to the sector and garner support from government agencies and utility companies to establish a pilot program – the Green Light Initiative. The Pilot program demonstrated a clear need in the sector and the willingness of housing providers and service managers to invest in conservation.
As a result, SHSC launched a full provincial roll-out called GLOBE (Green Light on a Better Environment). A subsidiary of SHSC, GLOBE connects social housing providers, municipal service managers, property managers, and social housing tenants with the tools and services to help them make smart choices about energy and water use. It is a portal to advanced expertise, education, and any government and utility provider programs and incentives available to the social housing community. GLOBE is governed by a board of directors with environmental and housing experience who, along with staff, seek innovative ways to approach and nurture conservation and sustainability in the housing community.