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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 3, JANUARY 2019

WISHING YOU A HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR!


The new year is the perfect occasion to appreciate all the good things that have occurred in the past year and all the good things that are yet to come. We wish to thank you for your continued commitment to provide safe and affordable housing for the residents living in your communities. Thank you for your participation in the Housing Provider Advisory Table, the 2018 Housing Professional Day - Stronger Foundations, ad hoc working groups, and for engaging with our team. Your input and feedback is critical to the success of the Region’s housing programs and initiatives. We look forward to continued engagement and collaboration in 2019.

 NEWSROOM


Operating Agreement Ending and Want Help?

Is your organization planning for the end of your operating agreement (EOA) or end of your mortgage? The Housing Services Corporation (HSC) has a dedicated EOA Resource Centre with information to help you understand the impacts EOA will have on your portfolio. The website includes a collection of resources in the areas of program and regulation, planning and finance. The site also includes case studies and reports from Housing Providers and Service Managers dealing with EOA issues. HSC also offers a number of services to Housing Providers approaching the end of their agreements. Check out HSC’s EOA Resource Centre for more information.
 

Spotlight on Succession Planning


Carpenters Local 27 places a strong emphasis on young, new leaders in their governance succession plan. With the addition of Kelsey Houston as their manager in 2016, who was 28 years old at the time, Carpenters Local 27 has been revitalized with young ideas and the implementation of fresh processes supporting the operation and governance of the organization. “Thinking Young” has become a productive capacity-builder, and every provider should integrate this into their succession plan. Consider inter-generational supportive learning as your key resource to cultivate the next leaders. If under-30 recruitment seems impossible, think in terms of relative age of your current directors for a gradual demographic shift. In the last year, the Carpenters Local 27 Board has seen the average age of a serving director decline from 58 to 48. For resources, see CHF Canada’s Young Member Engagement Strategy.

 FROM YOUR SERVICE MANAGER


Gems from the GM

In our last newsletter, we told you about the income and asset limits for subsidized housing tenants, cooperative members and applicants, approved by York Regional Council in March 2018. Since then, the Region has been collaborating with Housing Providers through a working group to implement the new policies. The new policies impact Housing Providers delivering Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) and Rent Assistance programs.

As of October 1, 2018, the Region stopped accepting new applications for subsidized housing from applicants with household assets over $75,000 and/or incomes over $80,000.

Existing applicants on the wait list with assets over $75,000 are no longer eligible for subsidy. Housing Access staff are now reviewing existing applications and will remove applicants with assets over $75,000 and/or incomes over $80,000 through the move-in-ready process or annual updates beginning in January 2019.

Households that were already receiving a rent subsidy before October 1, 2018 are subject to an asset limit of $150,000, and will begin to transition to market rent as Housing Providers complete their annual rent reviews starting January 21, 2019. All Housing Providers will receive a tenant communication to attach with their annual rent review packages that begin after this date.

There is a Program Instruction that you can refer to when offering vacant units as well as an updated RGI Subsidy Application Form. Keep an eye out for future communications on income and asset limit implementation.

A training session to support you during the next phase of implementation, which will impact existing subsidized tenants and cooperative members with assets over $150,000, was held on December 17, 2018.

If you have questions about the new policies, please contact your Program Coordinator for more information. Thank you for your cooperation during this transition period. By implementing these policies we can make sure that available housing subsidies are targeted to those with the greatest need.

 REGIONAL UPDATES


Staffing Changes in Housing Programs

Congratulations to Bernice Landry, acting Program Manager who has taken on a new role in the Region’s Social Services Branch. We are happy to welcome back Walter Mancini to Housing Programs.
 

In·No·Va·Tion - Better Solutions that meet new Requirements - Social Housing Innovation Fund

Thank you for submitting your schedules and invoices for the 2018 Social Housing Innovation Fund.

The 2018 Social Housing Innovation Fund helps Housing Providers pay for:
  • Accessibility
  • Green initiatives
  • Recreation and leisure space
  • Community programs and initiatives
  • Capacity building
Applications for the 2019 Social Housing Innovation Fund have closed with a total funding request of over $2.4 million.  The awards committee has completed the tough task of allocating the $500,000 funding and will be issuing conditional award letters in January 2019.
 

Miller’s Energy Efficiency Tips

  1. Every time you open the fridge door, approximately 30 per cent of the cold air escapes. Every time you open the oven door, approximately 30 per cent of the hot air escapes. This leads to more power consumption and a higher electricity bill.
  2. Pre-heating your oven for cooking is unnecessary except when baking.
  3. Using proper sized pots on stove burners can save electricity each month.
  4. A microwave uses about 50 per cent less energy compared to an oven.
  5. Turning your heat down when you are not at home can save up to 10 per cent in energy.
  6. Home electronics consume energy even when switched off. Approximately 75 per cent of electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are off. Keep them unplugged when not in use.

Financial Guide for York Region Housing Providers

Your Housing Services team created a new, one stop financial information resource to help expand your financial knowledge while finding the answers you need. The Financial Guide for York Region Housing Providers contains simple, straight forward explanations of many important finance and housing terms and topics including:
  • The Board of Directors – duties and responsibilities
  • The financial statements and how they work
  • The budget and the capital plan
  • York Region’s financing programs
  • The subsidy calculation and the year-end settlement 
The guide also features useful financial tips, strategies and best practices for all Housing Providers and includes a comprehensive glossary with detailed explanations of all the important terms.
 
Best of all, the guide is easy to find and print or download to your computer, smart phone or tablet - just click Financial Guide to access a pdf version and you’re in the know!

 COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP AND SUPPORT SERVICES


Update from Housing Access

Housing Access is conducting a comprehensive review of our subsidized housing wait list. A consulting firm has been engaged to assist with the project and has been conducting jurisdictional reviews of local and international waiting list agencies and colleagues. They have also been surveying applicants and hosting focus group sessions with stakeholders.
 
Housing Access is currently converting the current software system that we use for waiting list management to a Rent Café model. The Rent Café system will have some new features such as enabling applicants to log into the system and update their information and building selections.  Stay tuned for more information.
 
If you have any questions regarding the software conversion, please forward them to Helen Aston, Program Manager, Housing Access at 1-877-464-9675 ext. 72470 or helen.aston@york.ca.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS


Mental Health Training – Supporting our Tenants 

Your Community Partnerships and Support Services team held a half-day Mental Health Training on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.  It was well attended and participants took valuable information back with them.
 

On-Site Tax Clinics for Tenants and Cooperative Members

The Community Partnerships and Support Services team will be organizing free income tax clinics for residents living in our housing communities. We would like to know if any of your sites would be interested in hosting and how many residents you feel would participate in having their income taxes completed. We hope to start the income tax clinics as early as Friday, March 1, 2019. Please let us know what dates and times would not work in terms of room availability.

Please email christina.vettese@york.ca in early January so she can strategically plan and coordinate clinic dates at your site.

Please note that individuals and families with modest income are eligible:
  • One person family = $35,000 total family income
  • Two person family = $45,000 total family income
  • Three person family = $47,500 total family income
  • Four person family = $50,000 total family income
  • Five person family = $52,500 total family income
The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program will not be able to prepare the following returns:
  • Self-employed or have employment expenses
  • Rental income
  • Interest income over $1,000
  • Capital gains or losses
  • File for bankruptcy
  • Deceased persons
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York Region Housing Services · 17250 Yonge Street · Housing Services, 3rd Floor · Newmarket, On L3Y 6Z1 · Canada

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