Where to start? I'm just going to jump right in. The minute that the names of the two new tenant directors at TCHC were officially released I started doing some research. Nothing heavy. Everything was available online. I started with Amanda Coombs LinkedIn account.
The first thought that came to my mind when I saw her profile was 'if she is doing such great work in the community why does she only have 7 connections?' Yup, that's right … Just seven.
Come on now. I'm definitely not everyone's favourite person and I currently have 305 connections on LinkedIn.
K … Maybe the first impression isn't very impressive. So I began to research her qualifications beginning with her education. On her LinkedIn page it indicates that she has been working on her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from 2011 - 2018. That's seven years already.
The York University website states - "This program is well-suited for students wishing to complete a 3-year university degree and then begin a career or pursue a college diploma following graduation."
Then on her information page on TCHC's website it states that she is still attending York University for that very same degree.
How much longer is that going to take her? No judgements. Just a statement of fact that maybe she doesn't really have the time (or attributes) necessary to devote to the tasks that are mandatory for TCHC Board related matters.
I scanned the rest of her LinkedIn resume. Under Volunteer Experience she put Recreational Assistant at CAMH from August 2017 - August 2017. That's right. One month of volunteer experience. Honestly, I would be ashamed to put something that microscopic on my resume. I may have had naps longer than the total amount of time she has volunteered.
At this point I am searching in vain for an explanation as to why she would have been a preferred candidate for a tenant seat on the TCHC Board of Directors. Then I saw it.
She has eleven certifications! Sounds amazing. Looks amazing on her LinkedIn page. Until you realize that the majority of those certifications can be received for work completed in less time than it has taken me to research and write this article.
CPI Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
Two-Day Foundation Course
TRX FUNCTIONAL TRAINING COURSE
Conflict Resolution & Training
Maximum 6 days
Emergency First Aid CPR/AED Level C
no longer available but likely under the 5 hours required for CPR/AED Level C
Provisional MHFA Canada Youth Instructor
Engaging and Empowering. How to become an Effective Mentor for Vulnerable Youth
30 hours (3 hours a week for 10 weeks)
Crisis Intervention Training
Food Handler Training Certificate
Mental Health First Aid
Fitness Instructor Specialist
I have been sitting on this information since May 28th, 2018. I really wanted to give Amanda Coombs the benefit of the doubt. It is only a few months into her term and she is already on a leave of absence.
Oddly enough, I don't blame her.
I blame everyone that played a role in her appointment to the TCHC Board of Directors. I also blame TCHC for not having a satisfactory mechanism in place for tenants to elect appropriately qualified individuals to represent us in those two token seats. Finally, I blame the City of Toronto (as Toronto Community Housing's sole shareholder) for not doing its due diligence.