Everyone has heard the expression “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' Well, I believe that TCHC should be more proactive than reactive in many ways - including looking toward a time when OCHE is no longer necessary. How could that happen?
May I suggest that TCHC start working together with other housing providers and government services to make on going pay direct mandatory for all people on OW, ODSP as well as people on OAS and CPP. By pay direct I mean that the money is transferred straight from a tenants income support to TCHC. This method completely bi-passes the tenant and goes straight into TCHC coffers.
This was originally an idea I planted in my Tenants Manifesto on The Final Report of The Mayors Task Force on TCHC with respect to tenants on OW and ODSP where I know for a fact that pay direct is currently an option.
Now I understand that OCHE's existence is because of concern over seniors being evicted and dying in our stairwells. Maybe more of a long term strategy would be coordinating efforts with other social housing providers across the province (or even the country) to ensure that pay direct is mandatory for seniors on pensions.
OCHE’s mandate [as described online] is quote “eviction prevention for senior and vulnerable tenants living in Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) who have arrears (unpaid rent). We also provide TCHC with recommendations when a senior or vulnerable tenant has lost their rental subsidy.” unquote
I'm suggesting that their mandate include advocating for systemic changes that prevents the possibility of arrears from occurring in the first place. Not only should they be advocating for ways to simplify the annual verification of income review forms, but, they should also be advocating for mandatory pay direct for every tenant on any type of financial assistance.