The “ReSet” Program by Toronto Community Housing

Mayor John Tory recently made an appearance at the Firgrove Toronto Community Housing neighbourhood, along with several esteemed colleagues, like TCHC interim president Greg Spearn, Councillor Ana Bailao and Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti. The group proudly announced the launch of a $66-million “ReSet” pilot project.

According to Erica Vella of Global News, the main philosophy behind the program is to deal with the massive backlog of capital repairs by bundling them altogether into one project.  The program encourages resident input in order to identify any form of deterioration and unsafe conditions. Tory mentioned that the project will all be handled under the umbrella of a single general contractor.

Here is a quick breakdown of the project:

  • 900 units to be repaired in three public housing neighbourhoods.
  • $27 million will be invested in Firgrove
  • $19 million at Lawrence Orton community housing
  • $20 million to Queensway Windermere.

“ReSet will enable us to address multiple building needs at once. This will lower the cost of making repairs and help us stretch our precious capital repair dollars,” Spearn said at the announcement.

Tory made several impactful statements:

“That is going to make a big difference in the lives of these people and the housing that we own and in which they live….Residents felt the old system – where there was one tenant rep and that person was expected to speak on behalf of every one – wasn’t working in terms of people feeling a part of a community where they had a voice.”

“We’re going in, engaging with communities, doing a thorough review of capital, linked to program and service and making sure that residents are informed from day one,” Penny said. “As we put together the detailed drawings and specs for these projects, we want residents at the table so that they understand what we’re doing, how we’re doing it.”

As Jennifer Pagliaro of The Toronto Star points out, the TCHC is typically accustomed to awarding individual contracts for each of the various types of repairs needed in any one building: windows, boilers, roofing, etc. This has the tendency to lead to uncoordination among  crews working independently, with little information provided to residents on what types of fixes will be completed, and when.

The first step in the ReSet program is to dispatch architectural and engineering teams to each building to inspect the buildings and consult with residents to get a clear picture of the repairs that will be needed — including better security measures such as lighting and retrofitting of common areas. From there, a single general contractor will be assigned to carry out “bundled projects,” using a public tender process. The single contractor will be responsible for co-ordinating construction among multiple trades. Doing it this way, Penny believes, will ultimately save a lot of time and money.

Jason Quintal | September 21, 2015

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