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Addressing Recurring Issues with a Complaints Phone Line

What Happened

We found out that Shelter, Support & Housing Administration’s (SSHA) voicemail for complaints was full. That meant anyone who called SSHA’s complaints phone line to let the City know about an issue with their shelters would be unable to share that important information.

What We Did

We contacted SSHA staff to flag the issue, figure out why it happened, and ask how they would ensure it would be resolved moving forward. SSHA staff thanked us for letting them know. They told us that they were experiencing staff shortages because of COVID-19 and had to redeploy staff to other areas. As a result, the voicemail went unmonitored for longer than it normally would. Having access to a robust and accessible complaints process is a key and necessary aspect of fair treatment. Since people were not able to leave a voicemail via SSHA’s complaints phone line, we let SSHA know that this was not fair.

The Result

SSHA implemented a new schedule to ensure their complaints voicemail would be monitored and addressed more frequently, making sure people in Toronto could raise any issues they encountered with the City’s shelter system.

Why this Matters

This is not the first time our office has encountered an issue with SSHA’s complaints phone line. With all matters we investigate, we always follow up until we are satisfied our recommendations have been implemented, but sometimes reoccurring issues — or new related issues — arise. Because we were already monitoring SSHA’s complaints line, we were able to easily identify a problem with their voicemail and ensure it was resolved as quickly as possible.