London city councillors to hold special meeting on affordable housing Monday

London city officials will meet on Monday to discuss possible solutions following a report about the city's affordable housing. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

Affordable housing will be top of mind at city hall on Monday as councillors gather for a special meeting dedicated to the subject.

At the centre of the strategic priorities and policy committee meeting is a report from city staff that offers potential solutions to a number of issues highlighted in an independent review of London’s two affordable housing agencies.

READ MORE: Governance overhaul may be what’s needed for London affordable housing: report

The late August review, prepared by auditing firm KPMG, took aim at London and Middlesex Community Housing (LMCH) and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), a pair of housing agencies that have shareholder agreements with the City of London.

KPMG found LMCH to be hindered by a lack of governance oversight mixed with a higher-than-normal vacancy rate.

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The review also questioned the benefit of having the HDC operate as a separate entity, noting that its existence may bring increased financial risk to the city and that its services are likely to overlap with those of LMCH.

A lack of back-office integration and overall communication between the city and the two housing agencies were also noted in the KPMG review.

READ MORE: London housing agencies seek nearly $500m in additional funding

When the review’s findings first came to light, city staff were tasked with finding solutions to these issues.

This produced a report outlining three potential solutions from civic administration, each one recommending the boards of LMCH and the HDC be replaced.

The first option suggested replacing the boards with all 15 members of city council. The second option suggested appointing only three to five councillors for the job, while the third option sought to make a civil servant the sole member of both boards and task that individual with developing a project team to tackle the issues outlined in the KPMG review.

All three options would make those on the board responsible for fixing the housing issues highlighted by KPMG.

The governance overhaul would only be in place on an interim basis before a long-term leadership decision approved by council could be made for the agencies.

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The staff suggestions now go before city councillors as they meet at the strategic priorities and policy committee on Monday.

Both LMCH and the HDC have requested delegation status at the meeting.

Sister Joan Atkinson, chair of the London Affordable Housing Foundation, is also looking to make comments, along with Dean Astolfi, who serves as director of supportive housing services for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Middlesex branch.

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