Message from our Chair

2014 has been a time of change. The NRH Board welcomed four new Regional Councillors – Welland Councillor Paul Grenier, St. Catharines Councillor Andrew Petrowski, St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik and Niagara Falls Councillor Selina Volpatti. They join Thorold Regional Councillor Henry D’Angela, who has been with the Board since 2006. In 2014, NRH’s long-serving General Manager, Lora Beckwith, and Housing Operations/General Manager, Maryellen Maclellan, retired as did other NRH “baby boomers”. Within the context of these gains and losses, the NRH Board began the search for a new General Manager and continued working with staff to increase and continuously improve affordable housing options across Niagara.

In 2014, NRH received additional funds through the Investment In Affordable Housing Extension (IAH-E), opened our new, financially self-sustaining seniors building on Fitch Street in Welland and renewed our commitment to the updated “A Home For All: Niagara’s Housing and Homelessness Action Plan.” These initiatives will have a lasting impact on the NRH waitlist, tenants and plans for the future.

Despite this progress, NRH continues to be challenged by an ever-increasing need for housing, households facing more complicated mental health/addiction issues and the demands of accommodating Niagara’s aging population. It has never been more evident that appropriate housing is a critical need in our region. While the newer affordable housing developments that have been built in the last few years do address some need, they are not rent-geared-to-income so do not assist the applicants waiting for subsidized housing who live in deep poverty.

Niagara needs more appropriate, affordable housing to foster and sustain successful communities. The positive impact of suitable housing for low-income households has been shown to increase success for individuals and communities. Safe, stable, affordable housing results in healthier, engaged individuals, stronger families and neighbourhoods with less vandalism and fewer calls to police.

NRH knows that all communities matter and we will continue to address the opportunities and challenges ahead with compassion, creativity and a commitment to low-income citizens in Niagara. “An affordable home is the foundation of a successful household and the bedrock of prosperous communities” (ONPHA, 2015). On behalf of the NRH Board I would like to thank NRH staff and our many community partners for their extraordinary efforts and dedication to creating and sustaining this foundation for our region.

—Shirley Cordiner

NRH Board of Directors

NRH’s Board of Directors consists of representatives from across Niagara, including Niagara Regional Council, Social Housing Providers, the Public-at-Large and a
tenant representative.

James Hyatt, Henry D’Angela, Ken Goka, Linda Allen, Karen Blackley, George Marshall, Shirley Cordiner (Chair), Tim Rigby, Patrick O’Neill, Barbara Carroll, David Barrick, Ronna Katzman, Kelly Kendrick, John Osczypko.

NRH Board of Directors, as of December 18, 2014

Linda Allen, Karen Blackley, Barbara Carroll, Shirley Cordiner (Chair), Henry D’Angela, Ken Goka, Paul Grenier, James Hyatt, Kelly Kendrick, Patrick O’Neill, John Osczypko, Andrew Petrowski, Walter Sendzik, Selina Volpatti.

NRH Vision

The Niagara community will provide affordable, accessible and quality housing for all residents

NRH Mission

Expand opportunities that make affordable housing an integral part of building healthy and sustainable communities in Niagara

NRH’s first new apartment building, Birchwood Place (Fitch East) is a non-smoking building with three accessible units. This state-of-the-art building received the Niagara Community Design Sustainability Award in 2014.

NRH relies on more than 35 community partners to provide a range of supports and services for tenants in Public Housing communities. Pictured here - in 2014, Niagara Region Public Health’s CASTLE project coordinated a very successful gardening competition in St. Catharines’ Old Pine Trail and Rykert communities. Tenants report a noticeable increase in community spirit as a result of the effort and commitment they put into this beautification project.

NRH sponsors summer camps to ensure that children in our communities can access a range of activities and events. In 2014, more than 100 children participated in summer camps provided by the Niagara Resource Service for Youth (the RAFT) in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls and Faith Welland in Welland.

Who is NRH?

In 2014, NRH provided housing or housing supports and services to approximately 15,000 people in Niagara, approximately 1/3 of which were seniors. The demand for service is certain to increase as baby boomers reach their 70s and stay in their own homes longer than previous generations.

At the end of 2014, there were more than 4,582 households who qualified for rent-geared-to-income housing and were waiting on NRH’s Centralized Waiting List. This means more than 8,200 individuals were waiting for a home, experiencing deepening poverty, often unable to afford the basic necessities of life like food and clothing.

In 2002, Regional Council approved NRH as administrator to:

  • Manage Public Housing
  • Provide legislative oversight for Social Housing (non-profits and co-operatives)
  • Administer programs for rent-geared-to-income
  • Assess and make recommendations on the supply and demand for low-income housing
  • Monitor the Local Housing Corporation (LHC)

NRH is responsible for a wide spectrum of programs to address the need for affordable housing in Niagara:

  • Public Housing – NRH owns and manages more than 2,600 units of rent-geared-to-income housing
    • In 2014, 291 households moved from the Centralized Waiting List into Public Housing units in Niagara
    • In 2014, NRH processed and completed 9,920 work orders in Public Housing
  • Social Housing – NRH supports and provides legislative oversight to 66 independent Non-profit and Co-operative Housing Providers representing more than 3,900 households. Social Housing includes a mix of market rent and rent-geared-to-income housing.
    • In 2014, 301 households moved from the Centralized Waiting List into rent-geared-to-income units in non-profit and co-operative housing in Niagara
  • Rent Supplement Housing – NRH funds more than 950 households living in Rent Supplement units with private landlords
    • In 2014, 71 households moved from the Centralized Waiting List into Rent Supplement units in privately owned buildings
  • Niagara Renovates – NRH helps private homeowners remain in their homes through this home renovation program, which provides funds to owners to assist in major repairs and accessibility modifications
    • In 2014, 80 homeowners received funding through Niagara Renovates
    • In total, since 2012, 194 homeowners have received funding through this program
  • Housing First Pilot Program – NRH partners with Niagara Region Community Services and community partners to assist homeless households to find and keep homes
    • In 2014, 17 individuals experiencing homelessness moved into their own homes with agency supports through Housing First
    • In total, since 2012, 134 households have been housed through this program
  • Welcome Home Niagara – NRH offers down-payment assistance to low to mid-income households for the purchase of their first home
    • In 2014, 41 households were able to buy their first homes through Welcome Home Niagara
    • In total, since 2006, 262 households have received assistance through this program
  • Housing Allowance – NRH provides temporary subsidies to applicants who are waiting for rent-geared-to-income housing on the Centralized Waiting List
    • In 2014, 160 applicants received Housing Allowance subsidies to maintain their housing while they waited for permanent housing
  • Affordable Housing Development – NRH receives funding from federal and provincial governments and partners with municipalities to build new communities with rents at a mix of market, affordable (80% of market rent), and rent-geared-to income (30% of household income)
    • In 2014, NRH’s Birchwood Place community (Fitch Street East) opened 67 seniors units in Welland. With 18 market, 30 affordable and 19 geared-to-income rents, this building has a 70 year self-sustaining financial plan requiring no ongoing cost to the municipal taxpayer.
    • In total, since 2006, 597 units of affordable housing have been developed across Niagara

2014 Expenses

2014 Revenues

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