Presentation on theme: "Housing Connections Workshop. Content 1) What do we do? 2) Applying for Housing 3) How to Keep Application Alive 4) Making Housing Choices 5) Special."— Presentation transcript:
Housing Connections Workshop
Content 1) What do we do? 2) Applying for Housing 3) How to Keep Application Alive 4) Making Housing Choices 5) Special Priorities 6) Adverse Decisions 7) How to Use Online Services 8) Housing Programs 9) Community Partners
What do we do? Assess eligibility for and manage the central waiting list for subsidized housing in Toronto Manage the Rent Supplement Program in private-market buildings Manage various housing programs Following City rules and Ontario laws
Social Housing Reform Act, 2000 Ontario We apply SHRA rules to: Waiting list administration Eligibility Special priority victims of abuse Review process for adverse decisions – opportunity for applicant to provide further info on their case and a right to an Internal Review of the process
Applicants on the waiting list Total number of people on the central waiting list:142,555 Total Household Applications: 76,549 As of December 31, 2010:
How long is the wait? Special Priority 12-18 months Bachelor 1-5 years One-bedroom 7-10 years Two-bedroom 5-10 years Three-to-four-bedroom 10-12 years Five-bedroom 4-6 years
Rent-geared-to-income Rent is 30 per cent of gross household income; goes up or down depending on income 70,000 social housing units located across the city in various social housing buildings Choose from housing listings
Applying for Housing How to fill out an application
Application Complete an application online at www.housingconnections.ca www.housingconnections.ca Download an application form and instructions (English or French) from www.housingconnections.cawww.housingconnections.ca Pick up and get help with an application at one of Housing Connections’ Community Partners located across the city Fill out an application at our Resource Centre at 176 Elm Street Call and request an application
Filling out your application Household information Detail of arrears Alternate contacts Income Housing choices Declaration Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information *Must be signed by applicant, and all household members 16 years of age or older
Waiting list eligibility All household members must have legal status in Canada (Canadian citizenship, landed immigrant status, refugee status or claimant) See our website. Must be 16 years of age or older to apply No enforceable deportation, departure or exclusion order against any household members No household member can owe arrears to a social housing provider in Ontario (unless there is an up-to-date repayment schedule in place) No household member or former member has convictions of RGI fraud or misrepresentation
Checklist Everyone must have status in Canada – proof of Canadian status for all household members If you owe arrears, provide a copy of arrears repayment agreement signed by housing provider If any of your children are in the custody of the Children’s Aid Society, provide a letter from the CAS If you requested an additional bedroom because of a legal custody agreement or visiting rights, provide a copy of the agreement If you requested an additional bedroom for disability, provide proof of disability
Incomplete applications The applicants are sent a letter outlining what is missing to complete the application The date of application is the date that the completed application is received with Canadian status documentation for each household member
What happens after you apply? An acknowledgement letter is mailed to you when we have received your application telling you whether you are eligible Another letter will be mailed with a personal identification number (P.I.N.) so that you can use the website and the automated telephone system to make changes to your application
How to Keep Your Application Alive
The applicant’s responsibilities Inform Housing Connections whenever there is a change in: name, address, phone number and/or designated contact person income or assets health or special needs household composition housing choices
Keep your application alive! Update information once a year to keep application on the waiting list If there has been no activity on a file for 12 months, a letter is sent to the last known address asking the applicant to make contact to confirm interest If the mail is returned, or if there is no response, every effort is made to contact the applicant or designated contact person by phone, before the file becomes ‘inactive’
Full Update Package Sent to all applicants on waiting list to ensure application information is up to date If this package is not completed and returned within 30 days, attempts are made to contact the applicant by letter or phone
Inactive applications Applications can remain ‘inactive’ for two years If there is no contact by the end of the ‘inactive’ period, the file is automatically cancelled If the applicant has been identified as ‘homeless,’ inactive status could remain for up to five years before being cancelled Once a file is cancelled, the applicant will have to start all over again with a new application at the end of the waiting list
Occupancy Standards Spouses/partners share a bedroom and can request to share a bachelor unit Two children of the same sex share a bedroom regardless of age (room must be at least 4 sq. metres per person) Children of the opposite sex are given separate bedrooms (unless the applicant submits a request to have the children share a bedroom) Parent can request to share a bedroom with their dependent child
How to make housing choices To select or update housing choices, applicants with a P.I.N. can: Go to www.housingconnections.ca for the interactive Housing Listings that show how many people are waiting for a unit and the application date currently being housed Use the automated telephone system
Housing Listings online New! Search by zone, unit size, building type, etc.
Rent Supplement Tenant pays rent tied to 30 per cent of gross household income; Housing Connections pays the landlord the difference between rental rate and what the tenant pays About 3,000 units located in various private market buildings Choose zones from map of Rent Supplement Housing Zones
Housing Choice Date The date you add a housing choice to your application is the housing choice date for most buildings. Toronto Community Housing has many locations. It uses the first date you added one of their buildings to your application for any buildings added later.
Housing Choice Dates You will get a new Housing Choice Date for each housing choice you add to your list.
Housing Offers offers are made directly by the housing provider maximum of three refusals of housing offers before being removed from the waiting list applicants should not accept a housing offer with the expectation of transferring later
Priorities Waiting list works on a first-come, first- served basis Exception to this rule is the special priorities designated in provincial law and in city guidelines
Priorities in Toronto 1) Victims of domestic abuse 2) Terminally Ill 3) Over housed In addition to these priorities, housing providers must offer one-of-every-seven vacancies to the following households: –Homeless/newcomers who are homeless –Separated families with a child in care of Children’s Aid Society –Youth who are 16 years old at the time of applying
Special Priority Household Category Applicants who: are living with or have lived with their abuser and intend to live permanently separated from the abuser are at least 16 years of age apply within 12 months of living with their abuser provide proof that they were living with the abuser and demonstrate that they have been subject to abuse
Special Priority Household Category Application Verification that the applicant is living with or has lived with their abuser A completed and signed Confirmation of Abuse form Referral letter from an eligible professional that outlines one or more incidents of abuse A completed and signed Declaration of Abuse
Terminally Ill Medical Priority Applicant with a life expectancy of two years or less (must be verified by doctor) Local priority in Toronto – housing providers have the option to not acknowledge this local priority
Over housed households If the unit a tenant occupies is larger than what they are eligible for, they are considered ‘over housed’. A tenant who is over housed must move to a smaller unit. (Those who are considered over housed are required to list at least five housing choices)
When an adverse decision is made, the applicant is notified and invited to provide more information within 30 days If new information is submitted, it is reviewed by a supervisor If the adverse decision is upheld, the applicant is told about their right to request an Internal Review Adverse Decision: Opportunity to provide more information
What is an Internal Review? SHRA requirement review of process - not an appeal panellists are trained community stakeholders
Scope of Internal Reviews panel reviews the processes and decisions panel doesn’t rule on fairness of policy decision can’t be influenced by new information processes cover the following: –general eligibility –dates –number of bedrooms requested –number of offers refused –annual rent calculation –request for transfer within Rent Supplement –loss of subsidy within Rent Supplement –eligibility for Special Priority Household Category –eligibility for priority for the terminally ill
Online services With an application number and personal identification number (P.I.N.) applicants can make a password to: view and update application information view and print summary of application and housing choices view ‘Housing Up To’ dates on the first-come, first-served waiting list reply to letters asking for confirmation of interest in being on waiting list or requesting an information update
Log on to www.housingconnections.ca and select Application Update from left menu or Applicants tab Getting started
Pop-up Blocker Settings You will need to set your browser to allow pop-ups from www.housingconnections.ca, since many sections in My Application use pop-ups. To adjust these settings go to your internet browser under Tools and then Pop-up Blocker.
New Users Click on New users, orange button if it is your first time using Application Update.
Registered Users Click on the Registered Users, green button if you already have an application number and password.
How to register. Make sure you click on Register and the Register for Web Access box will display.
Enter application and P.I.N. numbers and then click Verify. How to register
Select a password with 6 - 20 characters and one alpha character, confirm password Click on arrow to select a security question Enter security answer (may be up to 80 characters long) Click Submit How to register Applicants should keep this info private, and store for future reference.
Applicant Login If an applicant doesn’t know their number, they may request their application number by clicking click here.
Enter Application Number Enter Password Click Login Applicant Login
Screen options are displayed in left menu, click on desired menu option. My Application
Screen shows a listing of the applicant’s housing choices. Housing Choices can be added or deleted individually or by zone. This is a scrollable screen. Drag the scroll bar up or down to view choices not shown in the screen view. Housing Choices
Save your changes and logout 1.Make sure you save all your changes 2.Logout! 2 1
Translating web info New! Use Google Translator on most pages of our website to translate web info in just seconds
Clients in rent-geared-to-income housing When a client is housed from the waiting list, their rent is pegged at 30 per cent of their income. Clients may be housed in: Toronto Community Housing developments; co-ops; private non profits; or rent supplement units with private landlords.
Households must notify their housing provider within 30 days if: their income source changes the amount of money they receive changes they want to add a family member to their household the citizenship/immigration status in Canada changes for any household member someone moves out of their unit and is no longer a household member Household responsibilities
Annual Review of Income and Assets Housing Connections will send rent supplement and housing allowance households annual review forms to complete. It is important to fill out the forms completely, attach proof of income and assets and return the forms right away.
What if a household needs to move? Households can: reapply to the Housing Connections’ waiting list with a new application; apply for an internal transfer with their housing provider; or apply for an SPP internal transfer if they have been subject to abuse from a household member.
While you wait: Being on the waiting list for subsidized housing means you may be eligible for other housing options. Some recent programs were designed to help applicants on the waiting list afford their rent while they wait: Short Term Rent Support Program –$180-$350 allowance a month to help pay rent where they currently live or in a new location will help up to over 4,000 households while they keep their place on the waiting list –when the program ends, the tenant can stay in their unit if they are able to pay the rent without the allowance Canada-Ontario-Toronto Housing Allowance Program –allowance of up to $550 a month (now full) helps 1000 households afford their rent and keep their place on the waiting list –participants were required to move to a landlord participating in the program
Other housing programs: At Home/Chez Soi Research Project research project funded by Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) applicants can be referred to the program from community agencies participants selected through research team and assigned to service agency providing support (COTA, TNSS or Across Boundaries) $600 a month housing allowance is provided to make housing more affordable project ends March 31, 2013
Community Partners have access to the waiting list database; know Housing Connections policies and procedures; and, help clients apply for housing and maintain their applications. Community agencies provide services in a variety of languages and help applicants with their housing search and application process. Community Partners:
Community Partners Agincourt Community Services AssociationSeaton House Albion Neighbourhood Services – NorthStreets to Homes AWIC Community and Social ServicesSt. Stephen’s Community House Birkdale ResidenceToronto Christian Resource Centre Bloor Info and Life Skills CentreWest Hill Community Services B’Nai Brith CanadaWoodgreen Community Centre Community Action Resource CentreYork Housing Help Centre Community Centre 55West Toronto Housing Help Service COSTIWomen’s Residence East York Housing HelpFred Victor Centre Etobicoke Housing Help Centre SouthCatholic Crosscultural Services Family Residence ShelterMidaynta Community Services Flemingdon Neighbourhood Services Mid-Toronto Community Services Native Men’s Residence The Redwood Neighbourhood Link/Senior Link The Assessment and Referral Centre Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services South Asian Women’s Centre Robertson House The Tamil Eelam Society of Canada Scarborough Housing Help Centre Elizabeth Fry Society of Toronto Homeward Sistering
Visit our website to apply online or to update an application at www.housingconnections.cawww.housingconnections.ca Email at email@example.com@housingconnections.ca Call our automated telephone system 24/7 at 416-981-6111 or call during regular business hours to speak to an agent Fax at 416-981-6112 Visit our Resource Centre at 176 Elm Street To request an off-site workshop: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Many ways to keep in touch