By Judy Lightbound, Managing Director, HSC Business Solutions
Regardless of whether you’re in the non-profit, government or private sector, “business transformation”, “organizational change”, and “continuous improvement” are today’s key terms when it comes organizational management. They are all ways that enable organizations to do their work more efficiently and effectively and to prepare for the future.
In our sector, this means adapting to new programs; funding realities; and stakeholder and client demands. With the demand for affordable housing skyrocketing, the need to maximize our community impact has never been more acute.
But change is daunting. Some might think it’s too risky to venture. But it isn’t. HSC has worked hand-in-hand with several Service Managers, DSSABs and housing providers to help them manage various types of change – creating and implementing a new policies; making complex processes smoother and more efficient; or introducing new IT systems. Our experience has repeatedly shown us that there are key principles and practices that can make the difference between project success and costly failure, which not only exacts a financial toll but one on your people.
Our new article series, HSC’s Practical Guide to Business Transformation, will share our lessons learned from successful initiatives and the approach we take. The series will focus on five key steps that are vital to improving performance:
We hope you will join us as we dive into these topics! Watch for the first article over the next few months!
|Subscribe to our Practical Guide Series||Learn more about our Service Areas||Contact Judy about your project|
In late April, the Governments of Ontario and Canada announced the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative (COCHI) and Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) as part of the bilateral agreement under the National Housing Strategy. While COCHI is focused exclusively on funding projects that protect, regenerate and expand social housing, OPHI is broader in its focus, modelled after the old Investment in Affordable Housing program. HSC can help Service Managers and providers in maximizing allocations and meeting your local goals. We can help with:
In early February, we launched the next generation of our Utility Management Program (UMP), which offers a dynamic, online experience to track energy and water performance. Interest in the new system has been tremendous, among existing clients as well as other community housing organizations seeking to improve their energy performance and meet the provincial Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking regulation coming into force. We hope that Service Managers and providers continue to add more buildings to UMP, as it will enhance their ability to identify opportunities for energy efficiency, make the case for funding and drive incentive programs.
To support housing provider use of the new UMP, HSC has held a number training number of webinars; in addition to sessions specifically devoted to local housing corporations and Service Managers, we’ve held introductory webinars for non-profits and co-ops and sessions on understanding your data and project tracking. We plan to add more webinar topics over time. If you are a user and would like to suggest a topic or want a one-on-one review of the system, contact us.
|Read more about UMP|
In late May, we released our gas purchase options for 2020 for our Local Housing Corporation clientele. This year, as with last, our prices are highly competitive with other group municipal programs – our lowest indicative rate is under 10¢. In addition, we offer zero-cost value-adds not offered by anyone else, including our award-winning Community Champion and revamped Utility Management Programs.
For the first time, we are also offering options to lock in gas transportation rates for one or multiple years. Transportation costs represents a significant portion of gas bills. Given that utility costs are the single largest operational expense for providers, clients will have opportunities to save even more under the HSC program.
Check out our April 2019 issue of Energy Matters. Key highlights include:
|Subscribe to the Energy Matters newsletter||Read previous issues of Energy Matters|
On Friday May 31, renewal applications were sent out to all members of the HSC Group Insurance Program – including providers currently using alternate brokers. Completed applications are due back on Friday July 12, with renewal documents and invoices being issued on Friday September 27 and coverage coming into effect on November 1. If you’re the contact in your organization for our insurance program and didn’t get this notice, please send us a message!
While the claims picture for the 2019 term is better than 2018 to date, we already know that the renewal this year will be challenging. We will need to persuade underwriters that our risks are being effectively managed in a marketplace that is increasingly ‘hardening’ – that is, a market where the cost of property insurance is rising because some insurers are no longer underwriting riskier client groups or assets. This is not because of our claims specifically, but because of the integrated, international structure of the insurance business. Our program feels the impact of property claims from wildfires, such as those in California in 2018 and those we have seen in Western Canada in recent years, as well as other natural disasters and extreme weather internationally.
To prepare for a challenging negotiation, we are currently looking at ways to strengthen our case. As one article notes, “even though underwriters are retrenching, they still want and need to write business. The difference is that they are looking for better business [and] better submission quality.” We’re cautiously optimistic that we will manage to find a way forward.
Brian Laur will issuing his next Managing Risky Business shortly. In the meantime, you can read more the last quarterly update, which featured stories on:
|Subscribe to Managing Risky Business||Read previous issues of Managing Risky Business|
With the summer around the corner, are you getting more and more requests from tenants to use common areas for social gatherings or barbeques? These events are a great way to bolster community spirit in your buildings, but they can put your organization (or the event hosts) at risk if anything goes wrong.
Housing providers can require Common Room Insurance when you rent out your common rooms. The party or event host will then be covered for the duration of their special event, and you’ll be protected too.
HSC Insurance’s Common Room Insurance starts at just $32 an event (tax included) and offer $2M coverage and a $500 deductible.
|More information on Common Room Insurance|
We were thrilled to hear on April 11 of CMHC’s acceptance of a joint proposal for this initiative. The Community Housing Transformation Centre has three mandates: to provide technical assistance, tools and resources; to deliver a sector transformation fund that helps housing providers transition to more efficient and effective business models; to connect low-income Canadians and residents of community housing with resources and information on housing options. Stéphan Corriveau, past President of CHRA, and Directeur general of the Réseau québécois des OSBL d’habitation, was just named the its Executive Director. Congratulations Stéphan!
HSC will be primarily involved in assisting with the development of the technical resources of the centre. We look forward to working with our partners on this important Pan-Canadian initiative; they include the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association, Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada, the Agency for Cooperative Housing, the Cooperative Housing Federation of British Columbia, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, the British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association, the Réseau québécois des OSBL d’habitation and the Confédération québécoise des cooperatives.
On March 25 and 26, we hosted our fourth HSC Regeneration Forum in Toronto. The theme was Roadmap to Development, with participants attending sessions streams focused on planning, design and execution. We had 300+ attendees, who came from Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nunavut (a first!).
Thank you to all who attended and our speakers, who generously shared their knowledge and are pushing our sector to new heights.
|View 2019 Regeneration Forum presentations|
Pro Forma: Learning to Speak the Language of Lenders
On Friday June 7, we hosted Pro Forma: Learning to Speak the Language of Lenders, a webinar featuring Joshua Broadhead and Terry Kozak, underwriters for the HPC Housing Investment Corporation (HIC or the “sector bank”).
Pro Formas play an essential role in obtaining financing and ensuring that your development project is viable – they comprise of a set of calculations that project the financial return of a proposed development, describing the proposed project in quantifiable terms. In the webinar, Josh and Terry walked through the steps of developing a Pro Forma and tested alternative development scenarios to determine project feasibility.
The presentation and video of the webinar will be available soon on the HIC website!
October Event in Ottawa
Eastern Ontario housing sector professionals may be interested in hearing that HSC will be returning to Ottawa for another full-day, in-person SHARE event. Details are forthcoming but we’re working with our board member, Graeme Hussey (Director, Housing Development, Centretown Citizens’ Ottawa and President of Cahdco) on planning for what is sure to be an exciting day. You can stay posted on the event details and future share sessions by subscribing to our SHARE mailing list.
I’m pleased to say that back in late February, the HPC Housing Investment Corporation (HIC) completed a $33 million round of financing for the Community Land Trust’s Railyard Housing Cooperative in Vancouver and Capital Region Housing Corporation’s Parkdale Housing Development in Edmonton. The lender for the first round was Canada Life, which has previously financed numerous affordable housing projects in the United Kingdom.
The closing of HIC’s first round of financing provides a vital proof of concept: it proves the viability of community housing as an investment class in Canada to the capital market; and for providers, it offers a much needed source of capital for regenerating aging buildings and developing new rental housing that fits their financing needs and is custom built for their needs.
HIC is aiming to close its next round in Fall 2019; this is currently expected to comprise of $90 million in projects from across Canada.
|Read more on the new HIC website||Contact Me About Prospective Projects|
In my last update, I discussed how the changes Encasa Financial is making are improving the Social Housing Investment Program. This time, I’d like to share with you Encasa’s performance as of March 31, 2019 based on a $100,000 investment over the past 10 years, compared to three-year GICs:
In addition, the management expense ratios on each Fund continues to rank among the lowest for Canadian retail mutual funds and meet the Responsible Investment Association of Canada criteria for investments.
|Learn more about the Funds||Read Encasa’s April 2019 Market Commentary|
Last August, I’d reported on our work with the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) relating to providing insurance for District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSABs) provide beyond housing. The ten DSSABs in the North are different from the southern Consolidated Municipal Service Managers in that they provide only social services, children’s services and emergency medical services and serve geographically vast municipalities and territories without municipal organization.
In May, we made a significant step forward when we locked in highly competitive coverage for the Cochrane DSSAB, who joins Manitoulin-Sudbury DSSAB for whom we’d developed a custom solution a few years ago. We thank Cochrane for joining on and look forward to onboarding new DSSAB customers in the near future.
Since my last update, we continued our hands-on work in the sector:
|CEO Meetings & Presentations
||Insurance & Risk Management
||Asset Management & Renewal
If you have a project where you think HSC might be able to help, contact me.
Since my last update, we’ve seen some changes in the sector. Congratulations to Kelly Black who is taking over as CAO of Timiskaming DSSAB from Don Studholme, who retired at the end of May. Micheal Miller is stepping down as Director of Housing at Cochrane DSSAB to take on a position at Aboriginal Legal Services. Joe Bradbury has moved from CAO of Nipissing to Parry Sound DSSAB. Thanks are due to Janet Patterson for her long service as CAO and congratulations to Janice Bray, who is now serving as Director of Social Services.
In terms of our advisory committees we’re also seen some changes. Lindsay Viets (Director of Strategic Planning) has replaced Hugh Lawson as the Toronto Community Housing representative to the Local Housing Corporation Forum; Deborah Filice (CEO, Haldimand-Norfolk Housing) is retiring this month; congratulations to Matthew Bowen from CityHousing Hamilton who will be stepping into the CEO role. Rebecca Morgan Quin (Manager of Housing, City of Peterborough) has joined our Service Manager Advisory Committee. Mina Fayez-Bahgat (General Manager, Regional Municipality of Waterloo) has joined the Service Manager Housing Company Network. On our Insurance Reference Group, we welcome John Angkaw (Senior Director, Fire Life Safety & Risk Management, Toronto Community Housing) and Kelly Black (CAO, Timiskaming DSSAB).
At HSC, we also saw some changes to our board as new provincial appointees joined our Board. We welcomed Zoran Churchin (Zoran Properties) and welcomed back Ron Holman (former Mayor, Rideau Lakes and Chair of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association). We said goodbye and thank you to Mike Trojan (former CAO, Niagara Region) who had previously served in the role; Mike served as our Board treasurer for four years during our business transformation.