- HSC Board: New Faces & Chair: Meet our new board members and chair and learn about their diverse experience in housing.
- $40M for Mixed Use Redevelopment: The HPC Housing Investment Corporation (HIC) just closed its second round of financing. Read about the project and how it is piloting HIC’s new lending program.
- Energy Services Update: Check out highlights from our last issue of Energy Matters and take a brief look at the current gas market.
- Insurance Updates: Get a brief update on what’s ahead in the second half of this term. Learn about how some OW & ODSP recipients may need to pay for tenant insurance differently as policies roll over. Read the best of our last issue of Managing Risky Business.
- Asset & Business Solutions Update: Learn about the types of projects we’ve embarked on in 2021.
- Partnerships: Is mixed-model housing the wave of the future? Get an overview on Housing Partnership Canada’s latest research; plus highlights from Encasa Financial’s most recent newsletter.
- Comings and Goings: Sector people on the move.
HSC Board: New Faces & Chair
On April 1, HSC welcomed Donna Woiceshyn and Kim Weiman to the board. Both bring considerable experience in community housing to our stakeholder-based board.
Donna has occupied senior roles at Niagara Regional Housing since 2001 and became CEO in 2018. Her experience in housing, however, stretches back even further as a member of the Metro Toronto Tenant Association in the 1980s.
Kim is the CEO of the Community Housing Management Network, which provides management services to co-ops and non-profits in Ontario and Nova Scotia. She brings to our board over 25 years of experience, primarily in cooperative housing, and currently serves on the board of Hamilton Place Seniors’ Non-Profit in Newmarket.
In addition to welcoming Donna and Kim, we would like to congratulate Brian Marks, who is now serving as our Board Chair. Brian is a long-time friend and champion of HSC. He is also the Chief Administrative Officer of the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board, having previously served as its Director of Housing Services. Brian joined HSC’s board in 2019 and serves on several other boards, including that of the Living Space Emergency Homeless Shelter and the Cochrane District Social Planning Council.
I’d like to thank Stéphane Giguère (Ottawa Community Housing), Jim Steele (Windsor Essex Community Housing) and Debbie Zock (Zock Group) for their service on our board. In addition, deep thanks are due to Bill Bradica (Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board) for his tireless service as Board Chair for two terms. I’m pleased to say that Bill will remain on our board as a director.
$40M For Mixed Use Redevelopment
On March 17, the HPC Housing Investment Corporation (HIC) completed its second round of financing for $40M. Edmonton’s CIVIDA (formerly Capital Region Housing) was the borrower, and the funds will be used to finance the redevelopment of its Londonderry site. The Londonderry redevelopment replaces 80 existing units with 240 new 2- to 3-bedroom apartments and 1-, 3-, 4- and 5-bedroom townhomes – thereby tripling the number of units on the lot. It will also include 4 tenant support community spaces and 2 commercial retail spaces. To support its long-term financial sustainability, it will provide social, affordable and market rents, with approximately 80% of the project’s homes provided as affordable housing. Construction is expected to complete in March 2022.
By participating in this round as well as HIC’s first round, CIVIDA continued to break new ground for non-profit providers across Canada – this time piloting HIC’s brand new Construction Lending Program. This program consists of a blended construction and take-out loan: the financing begins with an interest-only loan period during construction and then automatically transitions to principal and interest payments for the balance of the term.
As with the first round, Canada Life served as the investor with HIC securing an interest rate of 4.36% over 40.25 years. CIVIDA also leveraged a long-term lease from the City of Edmonton and a capital grant from the Government of Alberta.
HIC is aiming to close $300M in loans for 2021 and working to bundling non-profit provider (re)development projects for future rounds. Do you have a project ready to go? HIC is looking forward to bringing on its first Ontario provider to participate in this exciting, pan-Canadian initiative!
Energy Matters Highlights
The June issue of Energy Matters is around the corner. Here are some highlights from March’s issue:
- One Year Later: The Pandemic’s Impact on Social Housing Utility Use
- COVID-19 Recommendations for a Safe, Efficient Building
- Hamilton High-Rise Goes from Disrepair to “EnerPHit” for the Future
Energy Matters comes out quarterly. It features news on energy-related solutions, markets, policy, and funding affecting our sector as well as success stories and case studies to inform your organization’s conservation efforts.
Gas Program Renewals
As we head further into Spring, HSC is preparing for another round of gas renewals for our local housing corporation clientele.
We have been monitoring the market closely. Over the past year, we have seen higher than normal volatility and a corresponding upward trend in natural gas prices in the market due to factors such as the pandemic, the 2020 Saudi-Russia oil price war, and slowed U.S. shale gas production.
A number of clients are up for renewal and we will continue to offer a range of flexible options for the gas commodity and transportation. We are hoping that prices will stabilize as the pandemic loses momentum and business conditions normalize.
Insurance & Risk Management
We’re now at the halfway point of the 2020/21 term. As we move closer to the end, what lies ahead is becoming clearer.
One of the things we mentioned in Managing Risky Business is the possibility of another survey on COVID-19 safety practices to support the program renewal. Thankfully this is looking less likely as the longer-term outlook improves but we will keep you posted.
We’re also continuing to build on our payment options, which started with electronic fund transfers last year. Our hope is to offer a larger suite of remittance options to make things easier for providers.
We’re also in the process of preparing insurance webinars for 2021. Next month we look forward to putting on a webinar featuring legal experts on employment practices and liability claims. They will provide insight into frequent claims and advice on how to prevent and handle them. Stay tuned for details! Also, If you are not already signed up for our HSC Events mailing list, you can do so here.
OW/ODSP Recipients and Tenant Insurance
Effective May 1, 2021 the HSC Tenant Insurance Program will no longer offer a monthly government payment option for OW/ODSP recipients. Clients can still continue with monthly payment, but these will only be allowed using credit card or direct debit. OW/ODSP recipients will still be able to use annual government payments but will need their caseworkers’ assistance to make the changes with the Service Manager OW/ODSP office.
Affected HSC Tenant Insurance clients using monthly government payments will receive a letter from XN Financial stating that their coverage will terminate. The letter will be issued 60 days prior to the client’s policy expiration date on a rolling basis, as policies come up for renewal.
To maintain coverage, existing tenant insurance customers must set up a new account and method of payment after receiving the letter. Clients or caseworkers can do so by calling Marsh Canada’s Private Client Services at 1-866-940-5111.
Managing Risky Business Highlights
The next issue of Managing Risky Business is coming later this Spring. Here are some of the notable stories from March’s issue:
- The Claims Picture Since Renewals
- Ensure Your Property Claim Is Resolved Quickly and Efficiently
- New Legislation Impacts Slips, Trips and Falls
- Understanding Falling Objects Claims
- New Resource Ahead of Spring Flooding
Managing Risky Business comes out quarterly and includes stories on claims trends, risk management resources and new products and services.
Asset & Business Solutions
What Are We Up To?
On so many occasions, we are asked what our Business Solutions unit does. Our marketing material strives to explain our key services in four big buckets: asset management planning; strategic planning; data analysis and financial modelling; and facilitation and community engagement. However, our work tends to be behind-the-scenes and we’ve found that people want more tangible examples. To help you understand what we do, we thought it might be more helpful to provide a list of some of the projects that we’ve taken on in 2021 so far:
- Undertaking the review of current policies, identifying gaps and opportunities to support a changing housing sector
- Examining the long-term financial viability of housing providers and providing further analysis on ways to support their sustainability
- Supporting the development of long range strategic plans; for service managers and housing providers.
- Providing a third-party expertise to explorations of housing provider mergers; new development proposals; and the best use of existing community housing sites.
Similarly, people are always curious about our Tech Services projects, which have evolved well beyond their initial focus on procurement and managing capital repair projects, to include work on several new builds. Since the beginning of the year our Technical Services group has accepted contracts relating to:
- New building construction
- Office repairs to meet compliance with COVID-19 guidelines
- Capital repairs such as elevator modernizations and HVAC retrofits
- Various engineering studies
Do you have a project where you require the kind of help we’ve mentioned here? Let’s talk!
Community & Business Partnerships
Mixed Model Housing: The Wave of the Future?
On April 28, Housing Partnership Canada (HPC) members Ray Sullivan (Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation), Claire Noble (Calgary Housing Company) and Stephen Bennet (Affordable Housing Societies) were at the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association’s (virtual) Congress to speak to a recent research study.
HPC is a collaboration of CEOs of large housing organizations from across Canada. One of their goals is to share best practices and innovations in community housing to advance the sector. Their latest research, published late last year, relates to mixed model housing.
Mixed model housing is a central part of Canada’s 10 year, +$55 billion National Housing Strategy – it is the model that is employed by CIVIDA’s Londonderry project, which recently secured financing from the Housing Investment Corporation (see above). But creating this type of housing is relatively new – and many housing providers are just beginning to learn the ropes. This paper looks at 10 mixed model projects in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. It examines:
- Different types of mixed model approaches
- The partnerships required to lift projects off the ground
- Navigating financing and regulatory challenges
- Operating mixed model developments
The paper serves as a great introduction to mixed-model development. As such, it’s important reading for housing providers and their boards; politicians with an interest in affordable housing and municipal decision-makers. that looks at 10 mixed model projects in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.
Highlights from the last Encasa newsletter
Here are some notable stories from Encasa’s most recent communication:
- Guide to investment planning
- Comparing the Encasa Canadian Short-Term Bond Fund to GICs
- Integrating Preventative Maintenance
- Encasa FAQs Answered
Comings & Goings
The pandemic has not stopped people from moving. In fact, it would appear that it’s business as usual for many of our clients and stakeholders.
We congratulate Anita Tsang-Sit, who’s moved from being Toronto Community Housing’s Interim Director of Risk and Insurance to permanently occupying the position. We’d also like to congratulate Olga Tasci, who has moved into the role of CEO for the Agency for Cooperative Housing after having spent +15 years at the Agency, previously occupying the roles of Director of Information Services and Director of Operations.
Olga replaces long-time CEO Alexandra Wilson, who’s now concluded her tenure at the Agency but remains deeply involved in the cooperative movement. Lisa Ker has similarly switched gears, moving from Ottawa Salus’ Executive Director to the role of Deputy Executive Director for the Community Housing Transformation Centre. In addition, we welcome Lisa Smith from Cornwall & Area Housing to the Local Housing Corporation Forum. Lisa is taking over from Carmen Cousineau, who is retiring.
We’ve had a few changes at HSC. Simone Ramtahal, Cajup Haxhirexha, Yulia Zhukova, Linda Le and Mara Di Pasquale have moved on to new opportunities. We thank them for their contributions to HSC. We also welcome Soraya Hasani, Curtis Eadie and Mitchell Oriahi to our finance team and Lee Jackson to the insurance team.
Finally there’s been an organizational ‘coming and going’ that I’d like to acknowledge. Congratulations and thank you to the CHRA board and staff for taking on the role of national coordinator of CIH Canada. I had the privilege of being a part of the initial team that examined accreditation programs for Canadian housing professionals. And from 2013 to 2019, HSC served as CIH Canada’s incubator. We at HSC are thrilled to see this organization enter a phase in its life and are excited about its future.