Toronto Community Housing
|Headquarters||931 Yonge Street, Toronto|
|Annual budget||$205.9 million (2011)|
|Parent agency||City of Toronto|
Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is a public housing agency in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the second-largest housing provider in North America, behind the New York City Housing Authority, with over 58,000 units of housing and an estimated 164,000 tenants. The agency owns more than 2200 buildings including high, mid, and low-rise apartments, townhomes and houses. It is an agency of the City of Toronto, funded by Toronto and the Government of Ontario. Tenants pay rent according to income, with some buildings having a mix of tenants paying market-level rents while others pay subsidized rates.
Through the latter half of the 20th century, prior to the amalgamation of Metropolitan Toronto in 1997, there were three municipally owned and operated affordable housing providers, each operated by differing levels of government under the former municipal federation of Metropolitan Toronto including Metro itself, the former City of Toronto, and the Government of Ontario. Of these included the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Company Ltd. and the City of Toronto Non Profit Housing Corporation, also known then as Cityhome. In 1998, as part of a sweeping re-organization of the provincial government under premier Mike Harris, housing was downloaded to local municipalities to administer. The Metropolitan Toronto Housing Corporation (MTHC) was formed to take over provincial public housing units in the municipality. The existing companies including Cityhome and the Metro municipal housing authorities were merged into the Toronto Housing Company (THC). The forced amalgamation of the federation of municipalities under Metropolitan Toronto including its affordable housing providers was also carried out with the forced downloading of operating and capital expenses for a number of public services including affordable housing. The then provincial government under rule by the Ontario PC Party under Harris promised that the downloading of expenses would be revenue neutral, which turned out to be not true, which contributed a great deal to the existing repair backlog now faced by city housing. In 2002, four years after the forced amalgamation of Toronto, MTHC merged with THC to form the new Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) to administer all public housing units within the merged City of Toronto.
As the dust settled on amalgamation, focus shifted to creating the then newly amalgamated city's first official plan, which included identifying key areas in need of revitalization. These became known as the priority neighbourhoods, leading to among other things the unveiling of the suburban light rail plan Transit City, and the early stages of planning for Toronto Community Housing first new development, the revitalization of Regent Park.
On February 14, 2006 demolition work began on Regent Park, shortly followed by the completion of the new neighbourhood's first building in 2008.
In October 2008, TCHC was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine. Later that month, TCHC was also named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.
On April 8, 2010, TCHC tenants between 14 and 28 years of age went to the polls to vote in the inaugural youth tenant election at locations across the city. Over a two-year term, elected youth tenant representatives will sit on youth councils that will have a say on capital priorities and planning in their communities. They will engage youth and work with staff to make things work better at the community level.
- 2011 Audit report controversy
Toronto Auditor General Jeffery Griffiths conducted audits of TCHC procurements and employee expenses from January 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010, reporting his findings in two separate reports on December 7, 2010. His report on employee expenses revealed a list of inappropriate expenses incurred by TCHC as a result of staff abusing the organization's funds for personal interest. Examples include a $1,850 boat cruise for "staff development", $1,925 for manicures and pedicures, $6,000 for a planning session in Muskoka, $53,500 for a 2008 staff party, $40,000 for a staff Christmas party in 2009, and $800 to provide massages at a staff picnic. Frequently deemed the most offensive of all the expenses by media figures, social advocates, and TCHC residents alike was the purchase of chocolates from luxury department store Holt Renfrew at a cost of $1,000.
The procurement audit found that procurement policy and procedures adopted by the TCHC board of directors were sometimes ignored. For instance, an open tendering process was sometimes not used when it should have been, the tendering process was not always transparent, and purchase orders were sometimes split to circumvent procurement procedures. Several cases of single tendering were deemed inappropriate, including one case of a potential conflict of interest not declared in writing and one case of nearly $25 million in work awarded to an unsolicited proposal without competition from other vendors. The report also criticized TCHC for bypassing the formal requirement that bidders make deposits—a requirement that protects the TCHC should a bidder fail to meet its contractual obligations—and for its documentation inadequately supporting some cases of single tendering.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford demanded the resignation of the board of TCHC and although they were initially defiant, by March 3, 2011, all board members had resigned. The board was then replaced on a temporary basis by former city councillor Case Ootes. Ford demanded the resignation of TCHC CEO Keiko Nakamura who initially refused to step down. Toronto land development agency Build Toronto removed its CEO Derek Ballantyne who had been previously the CEO of TCHC. Ford called for the privatization of Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The feasibility of the privatization of TCHC was greeted with widespread scrutiny and skepticism; many housing and business experts felt that Ford underestimated the complexity of such a transition. TCHC CEO Nakamura resigned after a fire in a complex on Wellesley Street, and was replaced by Len Koroneos, selected by Ford.
- Jones hiring
On June 18, 2012, Eugene Jones, Jr. took over as president and CEO of TCHC. Jones has over 30 years of experience working in the U.S. public housing sector, most recently as the executive director of the Detroit Housing Commission.
- Backlog of housing repairs
Since TCHC was formed in 2002, it has compiled a list of needed repairs to its buildings. By 2013, TCHC estimated it had a $751 million backlog of repairs to its buildings. In 2011, TCHC initiated a program of selling off units and other assets with the proceeds to be put towards needed repairs. 65 units were approved for sale by Ontario, and Toronto City Council approved the sale of a further 55 units in October 2012.
- 2013 Eviction scandals
In 2013, the City of Toronto Ombudsman released a report about TCHC eviction policy and evictions in 2011 and 2012. The report was sparked after the death of a senior evicted from TCHC in 2011, who died one month after being evicted. Len Koroneos, CEO during the period studied, focussed on rent collection, stating that “Good eviction prevention programs cannot be implemented at the expense of rent collection.” The TCHC Board adopted the recommendations of the Ombudsman.
- 2013 Fraudulent billing
Five employees were fired after an investigation into fraudulent billing found evidence of wrongdoing. The investigation involved a former subsidiary Housing Services Inc., and its work on the TCHC project at 200 Wellesley Street East, after it had been damaged by fire. The file was turned over to Toronto Police for further investigation.
TCH has various properties from individual sites (single dwelling to apartment complex) within existing neighbourhoods to housing projects. The two largest TCH housing project communities are:
Seniors/single family sites
- 176 Bain Ave.
- 144 Balsam Ave.
- Beaches Lions Centennial 50 Norway Ave.
- Blair Court 266 Donlands Ave.
- Brimley Acres 2950 Lawrence Ave. E.
- Broadview Manor 80 Danforth Ave.
- Byng Towers 3330 Danforth Ave.
- Cedarbrae Manor 65 Greencrest Circuit
- Cliffwood Manor 4000 Don Mills Rd.
- Collegeview Apts. 423 Yonge St.
- Donvale Manor 330 Gerrard St. E.
- East York Acres 9 Haldon Ave.
- Edna Dixon Apts. 540 Queen St. E.
- Frances Beavis Manor 369 Pape Ave.
- George Barker Manor 384 Mount Pleasant Rd.
- Glen Stewart Acres 828 Kingston Rd.
- Glenyan Manor 10 Deauville La.
- Greenwood Towers 145 Strathmore Bvld.
- Gus Harris Place 120 Townhaven Pl.
- Hanson House 7 Coatsworth Cres.
- Janet Magee Manor 71 Merton Ave.
- Joseph Brown Manor 3179 Yonge St.
- Kinsmen Manor 2287 Gerrard St. E.
- May Birchard Apts. 859 Dundas St. E.
- Montgomery Place 130 Eglinton Ave. E.
- Moore Place 801 Mount Pleasant Rd.
- Neilson Hall Apts. 1315 Neilson Rd.
- Riverdale Acres 230 River St.
- Sanderling Place 20 Sanderling Pl.
- Scarborough Acres 575 Danforth Rd.
- Seneca Towers 1700 Finch Ave. E.
- St. George Manor 17 Brimley Rd.
- Sunrise Towers 1420 Victoria Park Ave.
- Tam O'Shanter Towers 3825 Sheppard Ave. E.
- Overlea 12 Thorncliffe Park Dr.
- The Sherwood 2565-7 Yonge St.
- William Dennison Apts. 310 Dundas St. E
- 237 Sherbourne St.
- Willowdale Manor 175 Cummer Ave.
- Winchester Square 55 Bleecker St.
- Wishing Well Manor 2008 Pharmacy Ave.
- Woodbine Acres 133 Merrill Ave.
- Alexandra Park Apts. 91 Augusta Ave.
- Arleta Manor 7-11 Arleta Ave.
- Bathurst Place 3036 Bathurst St.
- Beecroft Manor 35 Park Home Ave.
- Beverley Manor 168 John St.
- Doug Saunders Apts. 1775 Eglinton Ave. W.
- Edgeley Apts. 35 Shoreham Dr.
- Edwards Manor 340 Royal York Rd.
- Griggs Manor 1 100 Cavell Ave.
- Griggs Manor 2 98 Cavell Ave.
- Islington Manor 41 Mabelle Ave.
- Kensington Manor 34 Oxford St.
- King High Acres 12 King High Ave.
- Leonardo Ct. 72 Clinton St.
- Lerette Manor 250 Twelfth St.
- Louise Towers 130 Vaughan Rd.
- Marjory Carton Apts. 193 Wilson Ave.
- May Robinson Apts. 20,25 West Lodge Ave.
- McMurrich Place 18 Davenport Rd.
- Outlook Manor 55 Outlook Ave.
- Saranac Apts. 3174 Bathurst St.
- Sheppard Place 4455 Bathurst St.
- Silverthorn Place 600 Rogers Rd.
- Springhurst Manor 1447 King St. W.
- The Kempford 5430 Yonge St.
- West Don Apts. 6250 Bathurst St.
- Woods Manor 2835 Lake Shore Blvd.W.
- "Beyond the crisis: Fresh ideas on public housing". The Star. Toronto. March 4, 2011.
- "About Us". Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
- "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Canada's Top 100 Employers Competition".
- Jeffrey Griffiths (2010-12-07), Toronto Community Housing Corporation – Controls Over Employee Expenses Are Ineffective (PDF), Toronto Auditor General's Office.
- Executive Committee Agenda Item 2011.EX5.12, Toronto City Council, 2011-04-20.
- Fiorito, Joe (February 26, 2011). "Fiorito: TCHC Audit Reveals Lavish Spending". Toronto Star.
- Jeffrey Griffiths (2010-12-07), Toronto Community Housing Corporation – Procurement Policies and Procedures Are Not Being Followed (PDF), Toronto Auditor General's Office.
- Mehler Paperny, Anna (March 11, 2011). "Derek Ballantyne leaves as chief operating officer; formerly served as CEO of Toronto Community Housing Corporation". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, ON.
- Baluja, Tamara (March 7, 2011). "Tenants angered by Ford's comments on privatizing social housing". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, ON. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
- Fiorito, Joe (June 10, 2013). "Eviction of seniors from community housing happening under Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's watch: Fiorito". Toronto Star.
- Alcoba, Natalie (July 28, 2012). "I don't operate this agency from behind the desk': New head of TCHC aims to restore credibility". National Post. Toronto, ON. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
- "About Toronto Community Housing's State of Good Repair Program". Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
- Chown Oved, Marco; Dale, Daniel (October 8, 2013). "TCHC fires five after finding 'evidence of wrongdoing'". Toronto Star.