Q1 (January 1 to March 31, 2017) to Board of Directors

Recommendation:

That Niagara Regional Housing Quarterly Report January 1 to March 31, 2017 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:
 
Dan Troke
Chief Executive Officer
Henry D’Angela
Chair

Directors:

Henry D’Angela, Chair
Regional Councillor
Thorold
Ken Goka
Stakeholder
Welland
Andrew Petrowski
Regional Councillor
St. Catharines
Patrick O'Neill, Vice-Chair
Stakeholder
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Paul Grenier
Regional Councillor
Welland
Walter Sendzik
Regional Councillor
St. Catharines
Karen Blackley, Secretary
Stakeholder
Thorold
Kely Kendrick
Stakeholder
Fort Erie
Selina Volpatti
Regional Councillor
Niagara Falls
James Hyatt, Treasurer
Stakeholder
St. Catharines
John Osczypko
Public-at-large
St. Catharines

Highlights:

Appliction Activity
689 received & processed
Work Orders
1,761 issued
Capital Program
12 jobs/projects ongoing
11 public tenders closed
17 service contract orders issued
Rent Arrears
= $34,724.50
or 3.16% of the monthly rent charges
Community Resources & Partnerships
Offered supports to 200 new referrals
Had partnerships with 39 community agencies
Non-Profit Housing Programs
68% deemed HEALTHY
Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance
1,019 units
Niagara Renovates
Inspections for 2017-2018 funcding are currently in progress
Welcome Home Niagara
1 homeowners received assistance
Housing First Project
13 individuals / families housed
Appeals
= 7
2 withdrawn
5 upheld
New Development
Carlton Street, St. Catharines
Construction Services tender complete with a start date of mid-June

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 Q1, 1,761 work orders were issued, representing $683,004.14. $16,367.26 of this amount was charged back to tenants who were held responsible for damages.

  2016-Q1 2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1
# of work orders issued 2,881 3,007 2,863 3,051 1,761

There was a significant decrease in work orders this quarter for two reasons:

  1. Fewer vacancies resulted in fewer units to prep for new tenants
  2. Annual inspections, that normally result in the creation of work orders, were delayed due to the switch to an electronic inspection system

CAPITAL PROGRAM:

The Capital Program is responsible for maintaining the Public Housing (NRH Owned Units) asset and planning for future sustainability. In Q1, 39 contract orders were issued, 11 public tenders closed, 17 service contract tenders closed and PO’s issued $2,192,060.32. The Capital Program was responsible for 12 capital jobs>, valued at $1,552,000, including:

  • Roof replacement - one project
  • Building Condition Assessments/Energy Audits
  • Replacement of two Make Up Air Units
  • Balcony remediation - one project
  • Preparation of tender for unit door replacement - three projects
  • Design and preparation of tender for parking lot and sidewalk replacement - two projects
  • Design and preparation of tender for washroom replacements - one project
  • Bathroom replacement - two projects
  • Design and preparation of tender for kitchen replacements - two projects
  • Solar panel removal for continuing roof replacement
  • Life safety generator replacement
  • Kitchen replacement - two projects

The Capital Program is continuing to collaborate with the Niagara Region on an overall project management strategy as well as a new asset management strategy and plan. New capital planning software programs are still being investigated to replace the current system (Recap) which is no longer being supported. Building Condition Assessments/Energy Audits have been tendered and awarded; they will be completed by May 31, 2017.

The $1,200,000 received under IAH/SHIP funding has been tendered, awarded and $1,125,000 has been committed (93.75%).

Closing out the 2016 capital budget of $5,619,318, actual expenditures $4,794,887 plus $759,839 committed = 98.8%.

TENANT MOVE OUTS:

Move Outs By Reason
Health 4
Long Term Care Facility 9
Deceased 23
Private Rental 3
Voluntarily Left Under Notice 8
Eviction – Tribunal 2
NRH Transfer 14
Moved to Coop or Non-Profit 4
Bought a House 0
Left Without Notice 0
Other/None Given 10
Cease to Qualify 3
TOTAL 80

In Q1, there were 80 move outs. Two involved eviction orders granted under the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board – Arrears (one) and Other/None Given (one). One of the evictions was enforced by the Sherriff and the NRH Community Resource Unit offered support as required.

  2016-Q1 2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1
# of move outs 97 95 98 87 80

ARREARS:

Although NRH Housing Operations actively works to reduce rent arrears, there was an increase from the end of 2016 to the end of Q1. Reasons for this may include:

  1. A few tenants with substantial arrears entered into mediated repayment agreements at the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) – it will take many months for them to clear the arrears or falter on the agreement (which will result in eviction)
  2. It has been taking six to eight weeks to get a hearing date at the LTB which allows arrears to grow

  Mar 31,
2016
June 30,
2016
Sept 30,
2016
Dec 31,
2016
Mar 31,
2017
Rent charges for
the month
$1,069,520.30 $1,075,755.00 $1,083,124.06 $1,083,124.06 $1,099,834.60
Accumulated rent arrears $23,886.60 $25,812.79 $23,534.00 $25,033.90 $34,724.50
Arrears % 2.23% 2.40% 2.17% 2.31% 3.16%

INSURANCE:

In Q1, there were no property damage claims expected to exceed the $25,000 deductible and no notice of claims were delivered. One statement of claims was served and two claims were settled.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND PARTNERSHIPS:

In Q1, we had partnerships with 39 community agencies across Niagara. As a result of these partnerships, more than 200 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:

  • The Seniors Computer Lab Project began at Queen Street in Beamsville and recently expanded to Robinson Street in Grimsby. Internet access and computer literacy have become increasingly important to daily life. A collaborative effort between NRH, Nancy Siciliana (instructor), Lincoln Councillor Lynn Timmers, Renewed Computer Technology and Literacy Link Niagara, this program helps seniors to access and fill out online forms, keep up to date with local events and communicate with family and friends.
  • At Warden and Waters in Niagara Falls, a CASTLE Peer Leader Volunteer facilitated a Youth Water Bottle Flip Event and it was a great success! CASTLE learned that youth in this community would be interested in participating in dodgeball, cooking or craft programming in the future. CASTLE will continue to engage and build relationships with youth at Warden and Waters.

Also during Q1, NRH Community Programs Coordinators offered support to more than 187 new referrals of tenants in need of assistance. Of those new referrals, 54% were considered medium-high need. In particular, there was an increase in the number of requests for help with arrears, completing paperwork and resolving social issues with fellow tenants as well as private neighbours. The increase in arrears is likely the result of budgeting issues after the holidays.

2. Non-Profit Housing Programs

As administrator of social housing for Niagara Region, NRH provides legislative oversight for 65 Non-Profit Housing Programs (non-profit and co-operative). Operational Reviews are conducted to determine the overall health of each.

  2016-Q1 2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1
Healthy 42 42 44 43 44
Routine Monitoring 20 19 17 18 18
Intensive Monitoring 2 3 2 2 1
Pre-PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
PID (Project in Difficulty) 1 1 1 1 1
TOTAL 66 66 65 65 65

NRH Housing Programs continues to work with Federal Non-Profit Housing Programs as they move toward End of Operating Agreements (EOA).

GREEN INVESTMENT FUND (GIF) – SOCIAL HOUSING ELECTRICITY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM (SHEEP):

In February 2016, the provincial government announced the Social Housing Electricity Efficiency Program (SHEEP), a pilot program designed to improve electric efficiency in social housing.

NRH received funding in the amount of $268,843 and all work was required to be complete by March 31, 2017.

Only four local housing providers met program criteria: single detached, semi-detached or duplex townhouse complex and heated electrically, where the tenant paid their own heating utility costs. Two of the providers are located in Fort Erie, one in St. Catharines and one in Niagara Falls.

The funding was used to replace windows and doors, purchase energy efficient appliances, increase insulation and install more efficient heating units. A total of 76 units were renovated under SHEEP.

3. Rent Supplement Program

In Q1, there were 1,019 Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance units across Niagara.

  2016-Q1 2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1
Fort Erie 25 24 21 19 23
Grimsby 25 24 24 24 24
Lincoln (Beamsville) 2 2 2 2 2
Niagara Falls 175 172 173 175 177
Niagara-on-the-Lake -- -- -- -- --
Pelham -- -- 31 31 28
Port Colborne 38 32 30 32 34
St. Catharines 523 511 508 505 513
Thorold 16 18 19 20 20
Welland 179 180 182 184 183
West Lincoln 15 15 15 15 15
TOTAL 998 978 1,005 1,007 1,019

Variances in the number of Rent Supplement/Housing Allowance units reflects the general management of the program and required take-up/deletion of units due to End of Operating Agreements (EOA), move out of tenants, and/or new units/landlords. Totals will be increasing in the future as some Non-Profit Housing Programs transition into a Rent Supplement agreement upon expiry of their operating agreement. It is unknown which areas will be affected.

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 2017-2018 funding are currently in progress. Inspections include all areas inside and outside of the home to ensure compliance with program guidelines. Issues are identified and a detailed Inspection Report is completed for review before a decision is communicated to the homeowner.

NRH received $550,000 through the IAH-E program and $450,000 through the SIF program, totaling $1,000,000 for 2017/2018 period. An estimated 50 homeowners should receive assistance for home repairs by the December 31, 2017 deadline.

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 Q1, 1 homeowner received assistance through Welcome Home Niagara. Seasonality plays an important role in the housing market. Home buying and selling activities swell during the spring and summer months of the year, and trail off during the fall and winter.

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 Q1, 13 individuals/families were housed through the Housing First program.

  2016-Q1 2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1
# individuals/families housed 5 11 8 8 13
# of Housing First units (at quarter end) 116 114 116 115 116

Since 2012, Housing First has helped 236 individuals/families.

RENTAL HOUSING (NEW DEVELOPMENT):

IAH-E funding has been allocated to three non-profit organizations and will result in the creation of 40 units for seniors and mental health consumers in Niagara:

  Amount Units
Gateway Residences of Niagara, Huron Street, Niagara Falls $720,000 9
Thorold Municipal Non-Profit, Ormond Street, Thorold $1,228,912 14
Stamford Kiwanis, Barker Street, Niagara Falls $1,089,088 17
TOTAL $3,038,000 40

At the end of Q1

  • Gateway Residence of Niagara – complete. There are two final payments to Gateway. The first final payment has been issued. The second final payment is pending final audit.
  • Thorold Municipal Non-Profit – construction is complete with only seasonal work and minor deficiencies outstanding
  • Stamford Kiwanis – structural framing and demolition complete. Mechanical and electrical rough-in is well advanced with all underground mechanical work complete. Windows are installed and boarding is 70% complete for drywall work. Substantial completion is forecast in the fall of 2017.
  • Carlton Street - Site Plan Agreement has been received. Tendering of Construction Services has been completed and contract award to low bid is pending Council approval. Tentative construction start is forecast in mid-June 2017.

5. Service Manager Responsibilities

APPEALS:

In Q1, seven appeals were heard (18 fewer than in 2016-Q1).

Five were upheld. The remaining two were withdrawn after appellant discussions with the Appeal Committee.

Two were appeals related to ongoing RGI eligibility (misrepresented income and failure to provide information). Three were appeals of decisions made by Housing Access that denied applicants urgent status.

  2016-Q1 2016-Q2 2016-Q3 2016-Q4 2017-Q1
# of appeals 25 5 11 11 7

INVESTMENTS:

See Appendix A – Investment Report


6. Housing Access Centre & Centralized Waiting List

APPLICATION ACTIVITY:

# of Applications Received & Processed 689
# of SPP Status Applications 87
# of Urgent Status Applications 103
# of Homeless Status Applications 166
# of Eligible Applications 663
# of Ineligible Applications 26
# of Cancelled Applications 309
# of Applicants Housed 171

In Q1, 335 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.

There was a noticeable increase in the number of applications received at the end of this quarter. This may be due to recent funding announcements. Staff will monitor to identify trends.

CENTRALIZED WAITING LIST:

  2016-
Q1
2016-
Q2
2016-
Q3
2016-
Q4
2017-
Q1
# of households
A Rent-Geared-to-income (RGI) waiting list:
  Niagara resident RGI waiting list 3,975 3,987 3,883 3,875 4,067
  Applicants from outside Niagara 560 560 563 568 548
TOTAL RGI waiting list: 4,535 4,547 4,446 4,443 4,651
  Housing Allowance: a set allowance to help applicants on the waiting list with affordability in the private market until housed in an RGI unit N/A N/A 305 304 311
A1 RGI waiting list demographics:
  Seniors 1,755 1,825 1,824 1,868 1,924
  Adults no dependents 1,554 1,555 1,549 1,522 1,619
  Adults with dependents 1,226 1,167 1,073 1,053 1,108
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 94 85 91 90 100
  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 112 111 103 98 93
  UHML – Homeless (Local Priority): provides increased opportunity for placement to homeless households 605 614 610 579 653
  SUP – Supportive/Transitional: provides targeted, provisional services to assist individuals to transition beyond basic needs to more permanent housing 40 37 30 28 31
B In addition, NRH manages:
  Overhoused: households who are living in subsidized accommodation with more bedrooms than they are eligible for 124 126 135 126 126
  Transfer: households who are currently living in subsidized accommodation and have requested a transfer to another provider 475 432 403 410 434
TOTAL RGI households on waiting list managed by NRH: 5,134 5,105 4,984 4,979 5,211
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 614 587 571 556 546
TOTAL households on waiting list managed by NRH: 5,748 5,692 5,555 5,535 5,757
TOTAL individuals on waiting list managed by NRH: 9,834 9,574 9,235 9,237 9,602

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.


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