Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes

Staff report

1) Bell: The fiber optic cable installation is done! A 3-week job that turned into a 4-month nightmare…but it’s done. Having the fiber optic cable connecting all of our buildings will allow us to expand and improve our security system, and add more digital cameras in more locations – we are working on this project now. We are also seeking quotes to replace our intercom with a new system that will dial your specified phone number (landline or cell) directly. This type of system will use the fiber optic cables installed by Bell and will eliminate the current problems that we experience when members change telephone/internet providers.  We are also able to expand our wifi network due to the new cabling. We are still exploring how to best take advantage of this benefit.

2) Hydro Vault: This continuing saga is also over. Hydro delayed the start until September, but once started, the job went well and was successfully completed on-budget and within the estimated 4 weeks.

3) CMHC Grants: It was not a great surprise that our application was not successful, at least in the first round. Only two co-ops in Toronto received any monies under this program. We will be moving ahead with maintenance plans that were placed on hold.

4) Projects: Lighting: We will be converting all common area lighting to LEDs, including garage, halls, and exit signs. It is clear from the financial statements that we need to do everything possible to reduce electricity use.

Booster Pumps– the existing pumps are original, so they are very old “energy hogs”, any breakdown could not be easily remedied, and would leave the upper floors virtually without water.

Exterior Brickwork Repair- this is another critical repair that is weather- dependent, the job requires assessment (by our engineers), testing, possible tendering, execution, and more testing.  Our plan is to get as much done as possible before winter sets in, and be fully prepared to go ahead and finish in the spring, if necessary.

5) Housing Database: We have continued to expand and develop our award-winning customized housing database. The program integrates the co-op’s maintenance and administrative functions. It now includes the DFC-TV feature, DFC website linkage, and direct member e-mail and memo functions. We have also recently been able to make the system mobile: Thien, Rob, and Anna can now use a tablet to manage work orders and unit turn-overs.  All of these things improve communication, record keeping, cost-control and time-management.

We receive funding for this project from the following community partners: Employment and Social Development of Canada (ESDC), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC), West Neighbourhood House, Youth Employment Services

6) DFC Community Garden: The garden got “two green thumbs up” this summer as it underwent an overhaul! There was a new design, new crops, and new gardeners that cared for it every, single day. It was a challenging growing season this year, with all the rain and not a lot of that humid summer heat that veggies love. Project lead Jess Russell saw so much potential in the space, took her experience planting and growing for the Ryerson Rooftop Urban Farm and made this tiny space thrive. Together with a small team of dedicated members – especially co-lead of Darryl Ramsay (his hard work, knowledge and commitment to this project was an incredible support) –  the DFC community garden grew over 25 varieties of veggies and herbs, flowers for our bees, and earned money for the Pet Fund through the Harvest Tables. The veggies grown in the garden also made it into some dishes for our PRIDE Brunch and many other day-program meals such as “Oodles of Noodles”. Jess and Darryl have loads of ideas ready to implement next season and hope to make it even better!

7) DFC Recycling Program:

  • pilot program to pick-up and properly dispose of recycling began in the spring
  • following its early success, we decided to make it a service for all members
  • in August, a large volunteer team was assembled, and in September we began large-scale pick-ups for all members who wanted or needed the assistance
  • proper waste diversion practices are also being addressed, by organizing more frequent clothing / furniture donation events and adding more garage sales throughout the spring and summer months
  • all cups, plates, and cutlery at co-op events are now bio-degradable / compostable. Waste bins at events will clearly be marked for compost, recycling or garbage so please be mindful of proper disposal of items.

8) Helping Hands: This continues to be a successful program.

  • cafés and seasonal dinners continue to grow in popularity, and help to create space for social connections amongst members
  • staff and volunteers have been doing more one-on-one work with members to assist them with living more comfortably in their units.
  • the well-received “Soup-er Group” will be stating up again November. Dates and menus to be announced.
  • as we move closer to the winter, it is a good chance to let us know of any help that you need yourself, or are able to provide to others

9)  This year, DFC will be receiving two awards from the Co-operative Housing Association of Toronto: The Youth Award, and the Living in Diversity Award.

The Diane Frankling Youth Award recognizes housing co-ops and individuals who exhibit great commitment to youth within their communities. At DFC, we have always felt it important to reach out to co-op youth in different ways, to ensure that they feel like consulted, included, and important members of our co-operative. Being involved gives young people a feeling of pride and ownership within their community, and nurtures future community leaders. Over the years, we have been lucky to have several young people serve on our board of directors. I would like to acknowledge Hong’s special role in our co-op’s youth outreach work, both as a staff person, and on his own time, Hong continues to mentor our young people.

The Living in Diversity Award is given to each year to a co-op that demonstrates a creative commitment to diversity. This year, CHFT Is recognizing us for our ongoing commitment to indigenous cultural education. Our co-op is proud to have offered cycle one and cycle two of the Indigenous Friendship Centre’s Cultural Competency Training; we feel it is an essential component of being an informed and aware citizen, diverse community member, and housing provider. We also begin all board and general membership meetings with an acknowledgement of the traditional territories. This is one of the simplest and best ways to show respect to the host community, its people, and its territory. This coming year, we also intend to continue educational workshops for our members – talks and seminars that broadly address the history of Indigenous persons in Canada, as well as the issue of housing and housing barriers encountered by indigenous people, and offer strategies for co-ops around effective and respectful outreach.

We would like to acknowledge all members for their ongoing support of these, and other, important initiatives.

I would also like to thank all staff members:

Maintenance

Rob Haas – Supervisor
Thien Yea – Maintenance Hector Moscoso – Cleaner
Richard Nobel – Cleaner Tam Tsering – Cleaner

Administrative

Ali Parrott – Administrator
Anna Brooks – Maintenance Japinder Kaur – Acct. Clerk
Ryan Hayward – Community Development Hong Ngo – IT Administrator

They all believe in what we are doing here, and each staff member works very hard to make this place the best it can be.