Municipal low-income property company taken over after alleged health and safety breaches

Click to play video: 'Changes to  Kingston’s largest affordable housing provider' Changes to Kingston’s largest affordable housing provider
Town Homes Kingston has been stripped of it's operational powers – Jul 23, 2018

The executive director and the board of directors for Town Homes Kingston, a municipally-funded company that offers non-profit housing in the Kingston area, will be replaced due to several alleged breaches announced on Monday.

During a press conference, The City of Kingston announced on Monday morning that Lanie Hurdle, commissioner of community services for Kingston and the provincially appointed service manager for Kingston and the County of Frontenac, has assumed control of Town Home Kingston’s properties, nearly 400 mixed-income non-profit units in the Kingston area.

The move was in response to a number of alleged breaches of the Housing Services Act, among them alleged breaches of fire regulations, according to a city press release.

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Hurdles’ takeover of the city-funded property corporation will unseat Town Home Kingston’s executive director, April McGinnis, as well as the board of directors, which includes city councillors Mary Rita Holland and Liz Schell.

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According to the release, recent operational reviews of Town Homes Kingston by the city show that the corporation failed to secure life safety systems and fire safety plans at some of its sites.

According to a press release, the city became aware of “triggering events” — incidents in which the housing provider allegedly breached the Housing Services Act — after a city-run review of an unknown quantity of properties.

Notices of health and safety breaches were delivered to Town Home Kingston’s board of directors on June 6, and on Monday the City announced that nothing had been done to remedy these breaches since the notices were delivered, which prompted Hurdle to step in as the provincially appointed service manager and assume control of Town Homes Kingston.

The city’s mayor Bryan Paterson says “it’s an unusual situation but not without precedent having happened before”.

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“We are working with Kingston Fire and Rescue and have made compliance with fire regulations at Town Home Kingston sites a top priority,” Hurdle says, adding “what’s relevant is the health and safety of tenants and correcting the problems.”

The release says the operational reviews of Town Homes Kingston also found breaches related to financial management and conflict of interest guidelines.

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This is a developing story and will be updated as details are revealed.

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