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Tory praises latest TCHC action plan for community housing residents

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/The Canadian Press File

TORONTO — A new TCHC action plan promises both short and long-term goals with 71 recommendations that would benefit those living in community housing.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was pleased with the proposed changes, calling them a “very, very good start.”

“The measures in the action plans support our strategic priorities of quality homes, vibrant communities and service excellence, and the corporate goals and priorities for 2015 and 2016 approved by the Board of Directors,” said Bud Purves, Chair of the Toronto Community Housing Board of Directors in a statement.

“They will move the corporation forward to deliver real change for residents.”

TCHC said they had already put in place some initiatives which include establishing a partnership with Crime Stoppers to educate those living in community housing on how to report crimes anonymously.

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TCHC CEO Greg Spearn said although the initiatives are necessary, funding for the projects will be a challenge. There are $14 million in project costs that still need to be funded.

READ MORE: TCHC, Crime Stoppers launch partnership in wake of Lecent Ross death

“Our ‘Getting it done report’ builds on our strengths as a company to change and improve how we deliver service to residents, how we collaborate with residents as our partners, and how we provide value to the people of Toronto,” Spearn said in a statement.

“We will start many of the action items now by reallocating current resources. Where new funding is needed, we will develop business cases and bring them forward in our 2016 budget process or directly to the City.”

Over the past several months, TCHC said it has accelerated some planned initiatives to streamline results. Some initiatives are already in place, such as:

  • A partnership with Toronto Crime Stoppers to educate residents about reporting crime anonymously
  • 60 new cleaners trained and at work in Toronto Community Housing buildings, 25 in high-needs buildings
  • Over 730 jobs for local residents created through contract requirements of private sector Revitalization partners to target 10 per cent resident employment
  • Major service improvements at the 24/7 Client Care Centre, including a three-fold reduction in average call wait times
  • Training all new hires on customer service, with enhanced training for existing staff to begin in 2016
  • The volume of pest management treatments is up by 74 per cent while costs per treatment and the number of needed treatments per infestation are both down-all with significantly improved success rates

An additional 20 initiatives will be in place by the end of 2015, including but not limited to:

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  • Rebates will be provided to 1,200 rent-geared-to-income households that pay for their own electric heating
  • A new deployment model for Community Patrol Officers will see them permanently assigned to one of 20 patrol zones, resulting in more time in communities with residents
  • 521 of Toronto Community Housing’s 5,500 security cameras will be upgraded to full digital, with 50 additional cameras installed in 17 communities, home to 14,000 residents
  • The Closing the Loop program will be extended to 10,000 residents by the end of 2015 (and across all operating units city-wide by the end of 2016, subject to budget approval); this program contacts residents after repairs are made in their homes so that they can rate the quality of repairs and customer service
  • The contractor/vendor management program has been strengthened to better monitor the quality of work and performance
  • Resident consultations are taking place throughout the fall to renew the resident engagement system, define customer service standards and create a Resident Charter
  • After-hours building access will be improved for contractors repairing elevators, and measures will be put in place to reset elevators more quickly after fire alarms
  • Should suggested changes to provincial legislation be enacted, Toronto Community Housing will be better equipped to aggressively pursue evictions for cause