Toronto Community Housing is the largest social housing provider in Canada and the second largest in North America. It houses some of Toronto’s most marginalized and vulnerable citizens, including many who live with mental health and/or cognitive challenges. In recent years it has been searching for innovative ways to meet the needs of its vulnerable tenant populations. In December of 2014, Cota stepped forward to offer assistance at 220 Oak St., one of their “high need” buildings. We launched our Health, Home & Community service at the site and in fiscal 2015-2016 achieved the following impact:
- The story of our involvement at 220 Oak St. was followed by Toronto Star journalist, Jennifer Pagliaro, over 10 month period. Her involvement resulted in a front page two-part series appearing in the Oct. 3-4, 2015 weekend edition of the Toronto Star. View Part 1 | View Part 2
- Our involvement at 220 Oak St., and Jennifer’s brilliant coverage of it, undoubtedly influenced some of the recommendations in the final report of the Mayor’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing. The report, which was released on January 26, 2016, had many sound recommendations. Among them were calls for leveraging partnerships to serve vulnerable tenants and for working with Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to fund innovative services, such as those being provided by Cota at 220 Oak St., to help meet the needs of vulnerable tenants and to turn “high need” buildings around.
- The next day the Toronto Star issued a follow-up story on the Task Forces’ report. It reinforced Cota’s work at 220 Oak St. as a “model for how to provide the direct help for vulnerable citizens that has been lacking for years”.
- The journey of our first year of involvement at 220 Oak St. was also captured in a short film called “2:20 Inspiring Positive Change Over Time”.
Our Impact at 220 Oak St.
Approximately 480 people live at 220 Oak St.
183 Educational Groups were offered including health promotion, stress management, drop-ins and social outings
100% Successful Tenancies maintained by tenants enrolled in direct 1:1 supports
50 % Decrease in calls to police from "Emotionally Disturbed Persons" According to Sgt. Sin Chiu, in the documentary "2:20 Inspiring Positive Change Over Time", there has been a 50% decrease in calls that police receive, classified as calls from "Emotionally Disturbed Persons"