A recent report has presented a list of ideas and recommendations to improve support for vulnerable tenants in Toronto, including those with lived experience of mental health. The Jan. 26, 2015 report, the work of a six-member task force appointed by Toronto Mayor John Tory on Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), states community housing in the city lacks both a mandate and the funding to offer all the support services tenants need.
TCHC proposes the need to “decentralize operations and to strengthen partnerships” by moving more decision-making to the “operating unit level,” with closer contact between managers, front-line workers and tenants.
The expected result of this approach will be that vulnerable tenants – including people with mental health and addictions needs – will have the support they need through partnerships with agencies specializing in mental health, among other needs.
TCHC estimates that currently “24,000 households include someone with mental health concerns and addictions, with an estimated 9,000 adults diagnosed with a serious and persistent mental illness. This is twice as many as all Toronto purpose-built supportive housing providers combined.”
A preliminary report released in July 2015 briefly highlighted the challenges faced by TCHC, noting many vulnerable residents lack “ready access to services to deal with mental health, addiction, hoarding and aging.”
At the same time, TCHC was finding it difficult to keep up with an “ever growing backlog of capital repairs, inadequate operating funding, and the need to manage tenant issues for which the company is not adequately resourced.”
In December, the Ontario government Ontario announced new investments in housing, promising $16.2 million for 1,000 supporting housing units across the province, including $4 million for 248 supportive housing units in 2016-17.