Victoria Park Community Homes: A Strategic Approach to EOA
Established in 1974, Victoria Park Community Homes is one of Ontario’s oldest non-profit housing corporations. It is also among the largest, with more than 2,651 units spanning across several communities in Southern Ontario.
Over the past years, Victoria Park has been strategically addressing End of Operating Agreements (EOA) and maintaining affordability within several projects. To do so they have taken a portfolio wide approach focused on dealing with subsidies on a building-by-building basis, creating new policies around the use of surplus funds, and supporting the development of financial competencies within their staffing structure.
This process has not been without challenges.
One of the biggest hurdles has been cross-subsidization across the organization’s portfolio given that Victoria Park owns and manages properties across four service manager areas under several different funding structures. Figuring out a way to address the continued community need for deeply affordable units in the absence of continued government subsidies has also proven to be a significant challenge.
Moving forward, Victoria Park will be continuing to identify opportunities and will be consulting with lawyers and service managers to address some of the EOA related challenges they are facing. They will also be moving away from providing rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidies towards a system of housing allowances in order to increase financial predictability for the organization.
ONPHA asked Victoria Park’s Executive Director, Lori-Anne Gagne, if she had advice for other housing providers approaching EOA. Here are a few key tips she identified:
- Start planning early and consider things like savings, repair needs, and future operating costs;
- Engage with your Board about creating a policy related to surpluses; and
- Take advantage of the opportunity to think creatively about how to maintain “subsidies”.
Victoria Park Community Homes is one of three organizations presenting about their EOA experiences in session 206 “EOA: What really happened?” at the 2017 ONPHA Conference and Trade Show. If your organization has projects approaching EOA, this session will explore what to expect from those who have already gone through the process.
Interested in learning more about End of Operating Agreements? At the 2017 ONPHA Conference and Trade Show, we have developed several sessions to help prepare you and your organization to thrive in this new social housing landscape. Sessions include:
– Evolving with EOA: Thinking strategically, acting locally uses case studies to illustrate common challenges and how they shape provider EOA responses within a local context.
– EOA: Ensuring legal readiness walks you through what technical and/or legal details you need to know as you plan for the future.
– A Brave new world: Non-profit refinancing lets you hear perspectives from both sides of the refinancing equation, a mortgage lending expert who specializes in affordable housing, and a housing provider that prepaid their mortgage through CMHC’s loan prepayment flexibility program and refinanced with a private sector institution.