At its meeting on Thursday June 13, 2013, the Ombudsman Fiona Crean presented her report, Housing at Risk to Council, outlining TCHC’s practice of unfairly and callously evicting seniors from their homes. The report was endorsed by Council with a vote of 34-2 (Doug Ford and Doug Holyday voted against it). According to the Toronto Star, Mayor Ford missed most of the debate, skipped the vote, and chose to defend the eviction practices of TCHC. Ford’s insensitive comment was: “I don’t care if you’re two years old, 20 years old, or 200 years old, you’re not going to live for free.”
Council passed six additional motions
Council was more supportive, passing six additional motions related to the report. You can read the motions on the City’s website, or read our summary:
(1) A motion by Josh Matlow motion requires TCHC to inform the Ombudsman every time a senior is facing eviction for arrears until March 2014; and for the Ombudsman to provide a follow-up report at that time
(2) A motion by Maria Augimeri was for (a) Council to request that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provide funding to the TCHC to assist residents with mental health problems; (b) for TCHC to withdraw rent prior to seniors receiving their benefit payments; (c) that seniors be assisted with the transition to higher rents that come at the age of 65; and (d) for better communication between TCHC and Employment and Social Services.
(3) A motion by Paula Fletcher requested a Commissioner of Housing Equity be established at TCHC, as recommended in the LeSage report.
(4) A motion by Frances Nunziata requested (a) that Council strongly encourage TCHC to implement the report’s recommendations; (b) TCHC provide updates on this progress in the Board’s quarterly performance report; (c) the CEO report on the number of vulnerable seniors in arrears and on a proposal to implement a payment plan.
(5) A motion by James Pasternak requested (a) that TCHC create a mechanism, program, or referral system to ensure that tenants in arrears are given guidance/referrals to ensure they are receiving their maximum federal financial entitlement; and (b) to request an increase in retroactivity of seniors’ benefit payments
(6) A motion by Adam Vaughan requested (a) for the inclusion of whistle-blower protection policy in the forthcoming Shareholder Direction for TCHC; (b) that TCHC to communicate with tenants in their language of choice and in English; (c) that the unspent portion of Shelter, Support and Housing be split between the social housing reserve fund to create new affordable housing and the supplement programs to keep tenants properly housed; (d) a report on Vancouver’s training and follow-up services to vulnerable tenants
You can respond too! June 19th, 2013
The Ombudsman is presenting her report to the TCHC Board of Directors on June 19th, 2013 (5:45pm – 9:30pm). You can make a deputation to the Board and give your feedback on the Ombudsman’s findings and recommendations. See details here.