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City to vote on the future of Town Homes Kingston

City officials will meet Tuesday to vote on a potential merger between Town Homes Kingston and Kingston & Frontenac Housing Corporation.

A meeting is being held Tuesday night in the Kingston council chambers to discuss the future of Town Homes Kingston.

The non-profit housing corporation was stripped of its operational powers by the city two weeks ago.

Last spring, accounting firm KPMG performed an investigative review of the property and found several serious issues with Town Homes Kingston’s operations. Concerns ranged from health and safety to problems with administration and financial stability.

In its review, KPMG cited issues such as significant repairs to the property that had been deferred, putting tenants at risk. Rent calculation errors and high staff turnover were also mentioned, and the KPMG review noted that Town Homes Kingston also showed increased wages and benefits on paper even though its entire maintenance division was let go.

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

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On July 23, the city voted to declare Town Homes Kingston a “project in difficulty.”

This put the corporation behind the project under review, and the operation of Town Homes Kingston is now in the hands of the city’s service manager, Lanie Hurdle.

“The KPMG and the operational review, that flagged some significant long-term concerns for us. There’s some short-term concerns that are more around health and safety, but the long-term concerns are more related to asset management, making sure we can maintain long-term affordable housing,” said Hurdle.

READ MORE: Changes to Kingston’s largest affordable housing provider

An option to merge Town Homes Kingston and Kingston & Frontenac Housing Corporation, another non-profit social housing group, will be discussed Tuesday.

If city council members agree, the merger of the two corporations will go ahead.

KPMG also listed the possible benefits that could result from this merger, including long-term stability, consistency in governance and better asset management of buildings. The city would also end up saving around $340,000 a year, said KPMG in its review.

“We want to make sure that, at the end of the day, the organization is stable,” said Hurdle.

If the city votes yes, the merger between Town Homes Kingston and Kingston & Frontenac could take anywhere from six months to a year to be completed.

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