Improving Communication to TCHC Tenants

7 July 2020

In July 2018, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) changed its policy and procedures for unit transfer applications by tenants in crisis situations. As part of that change, it offered tenants who had been on the waitlist under the previous policy (the Medical and Safety At Risk priority categories) a one-time opportunity to move to an available TCHC unit, before TCHC discontinued the old waitlist entirely. If legacy waitlisted tenants did not accept the unit they were offered, they would have to re-apply under the new crisis transfer policy, for which it is much more difficult to qualify.

As part of this one-time program, TCHC gave Ms. B three choices of buildings to move to (even though the program only required it to offer a unit in one building from the tenant’s approved list). Ms. B asked for more information about the matching process and asked if she could view all three offered units to compare. No one responded to her requests.

When she was then offered one unit and told she had 24 hours to decide (instead of the 2 business days required), she quickly visited the building and unit, only to find that it was not a good fit for her. She turned down the unit and was then told by automated letter she would not receive any further offers. She hadn’t understood the consequences of her refusal.

After Ms. B contacted us to complain, we spoke to senior management at TCHC and asked them to review her unanswered correspondence, in which she had asked for clarification about the transfer process.

TCHC acknowledged that they had failed to respond to her questions. Because of this, they could not be confident that she understood the consequence of having declined the unit it offered her. TCHC apologized to Ms. B and told her she would have another opportunity to consider an offer from the remaining available units.