News release: TCHC Board of Directors approves strategy for confronting anti-Black racism
TORONTO, February 26, 2021—Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has committed to implementing a strategy and eight-point plan for confronting anti-Black racism, proactively dismantling policies, systems and procedures that reinforce anti-Black racism, and advancing the interests of Black staff and tenants.
Approved by the TCHC Board of Directors on Feb. 26, 2021, the strategy will guide TCHC in implementing changes needed to systematically address the realities of anti-Black racism experienced by Black tenants and staff.
The strategy calls for the implementation of an eight-point plan that outlines our vision for success, which include:
- Decent and fair housing
- Meaningful economic investment
- Healthy children, youth and families
- Access to culturally responsive health and mental health services
- Community centered safety
- Divesting from police culture
- Uplifting social support networks
- Addressing anti-Black racism and cultural redress
To accomplish these outcomes, the TCHC Centre for Advancing the Interests of Black People will be established to lead the organization in applying strategies for change. The Centre will lead and collaborate with business units across the organization in applying the following strategies for change:
- TCHC anti-Black racism action plans: Identifying holistic action plans with resources, dedicated staff, connections to leadership, and work programs integrated across departments, which is critical to advancing meaningful action to address anti-Black racism in TCHC policies, practices, programs, and investments.
- Cultural redress: Attempting to repair the harms of systemic anti-Black exclusion, displacement, and discrimination through cultural redress initiatives, and considering how historical and contemporary forms of anti-Black racism shape the social housing landscape.
- Competency in anti-Black racism analysis: Understanding and incorporating an anti-Black racism analysis into TCHC's strategic priorities to guide TCHC in addressing anti-Black inequities in revitalization, tenant engagement and programming, community economic development, violence reduction strategy, community safety, tenancy management, and capital repairs.
- Public engagement: Making consistent investments in culturally relevant, socially safe design, engagement, and participatory budgeting processes led by Black tenants that reflect diverse experiences and the spectrum of complex intersectional identities, as well as establishing mechanisms to catalogue and connect engagement across departments.
- Human rights data: Collecting and utilizing race-based data to inform budget, corporate initiatives, investment processes, human resources practices and leadership diversity, and to shape the development and delivery of programs and services such as tenant engagement, tenancy management, revitalization and community economic development.
- Human resources: Analyzing TCHC's current Human Resources policies and practices (hiring, retention, promotion, performance evaluation, and workplace culture initiatives) through an anti-Black racism lens to guide the implementation of processes to address unconscious bias and systemic anti-Black racism as well as intentional hiring and advancement opportunities for Black tenants and staff.
- Advocacy: Using advocacy to influence decisions by external agencies and partners that impact TCHC staff and tenants, creating partnerships to ensure TCHC can support the needs of tenants and staff that are beyond its scope, and shaping the discussion around housing policy and race to the end of creating better outcomes for Black Torontonians.
Through the implementation of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism strategy, the aim is that TCHC will be an organization that utilizes innovative responses toward confronting anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination and prejudice, therefore leading sectorial change in shaping the discussion around housing policy and race to the end of creating better outcomes for Black Torontonians.
In September 2020, TCHC established an internal Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) team to lead the development of the strategy. The CABR team was created through the advocacy work that took place over the summer of 2020 by Black staff at TCHC, who engaged in an open dialogue with the Executive Leadership Team and several Black staff in management on how the organization can commit to dismantling anti-Black racism.
"I want to thank the more than 600 Black tenants and staff who openly shared their lived experiences during consultations and dialogue to develop the strategy. The solutions come directly from them, as they are the ones who experience the reality of anti-Black racism across TCHC. Their voices have been heard and as a result TCHC will be a better organization that proactively confronts and dismantles anti-Black racism."
—Kevin Marshman, President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing
"As a former tenant, long-term employee and participant developing this CABR Strategy, it is my hope that this strategy will not just guide the organization through the policy and process redress, but will guide Black, white and all other vulnerable staff, tenants and leaders, to work at and toward overcoming and eliminating individual, institutional, systemic and meta-racism in TCHC."
—Barry, TCHC tenant
"Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Confronting Anti-Black Racism Strategy works to address the systemic disparities that live within TCHC's walls. As a community leader that works collaboratively with TCHC, I recognize the organization's efforts to hold staff, tenants, and the wider system accountable for the unjust treatment of Black bodies within Toronto. CABR encourages entities to take a step in the right direction in tackling anti-Black racism, while simultaneously recognizing there is a still a lot of work that needs to be done."
—Kiaunna Bennet, TCHC tenant
"As an employee of Toronto Community Housing, I am proud of the position that the organization has taken to not only recognize and confront anti-Black racism but to adopt such a comprehensive strategy to move us towards the elimination of the barriers face by Black staff and tenants. I want to thank the many who came forward to share their stories, experiences and insights that shaped this work. This strategy offers practical solutions to not only improve the lives and experiences of Black staff and tenants but ultimately I believe it will respond to all forms of racism and discrimination at Toronto Community Housing."
—Marva Jeffers, TCHC employee
"The City of Toronto's Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit is pleased to support TCHC in adopting this strategy. It is multi-pronged, community-grounded, outcomes-focused and appropriately centres the voices, experiences and interests of its Black staff, and more importantly, its Black tenants. Adopting this strategy is a small but significant step towards substantively addressing the chronic concerns Black TCHC tenants and staff have been raising for too long. The CABR Unit commends TCHC on this step and is committed to continuing to collaborate with TCHC to ensure that this strategy translates into material changes for their Black staff and tenants across the city."
—Anthony Morgan, Manager, Confronting Anti Black Racism Unit, City of Toronto
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing is Canada's largest social housing provider. Toronto Community Housing provides homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in neighbourhoods across the city. Toronto Community Housing is wholly owned by the City of Toronto and its 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.