TCHC launches Community Benefits engagement in Regent Park to develop plan for $26.8 million in economic development funds
The process will identify resident priorities for Phases 4 and 5 of the Regent Park revitalization and create the blueprint for how social and economic development funds will be used in the community.
April 26 - TCHC today announced the launch of the Community Benefits engagement process (the "process") to hear from residents and inform how $26.8 million in community benefit funds will be invested in the community over the next 10 to 15 years, as part of Phases 4 and 5 of the Regent Park revitalization.
Beginning today, April 26, Regent Park TCHC Tenants and market residents ages 14 and over will be able to have their say on where they would like to see the community funds directed. Residents can complete an online survey (EDIT: Survey now closed) on their own or with the support of TCHC community animators and Community Benefits Oversight Working Group (CBOWG) members, who will be in the community. TCHC, Tridel and CBOWG will also host multiple group and one-on-one engagement opportunities from April to mid-June. Feedback is also being collected via email to TalkRegentPark@TorontoHousing.ca, and the engagement team is accepting invitations to speak about community benefits at any events that residents are hosting independently in the community throughout this period.
The Community Benefits engagement process is comprehensive and accessible, and focused on answering two questions:
- How should we allocate the $26.8 million between three investment "buckets"?
Bucket 1: Employment — Wages for people employed in positions facilitated by Tridel through the Tridel Group of Companies and contractors on Tridel projects. Employment supports are also included here.
Bucket 2: Major Investments ($500K+) —Money to go to large investments, valued at $500,000 plus, in 1 to 3 priority areas. This could include but is not limited to Social Development Plan (SDP) initiatives, such as capital investments for new and existing Regent Park community space; support for micro-enterprises and local entrepreneurs; support for Regent Park community events; support for community safety initiatives; and other community initiatives, such as job training programs, scholarships and bursaries for all ages; construction skills training; a fund to support programs and staff at a new community space; an online jobs portal; tool library; social procurement from Regent Park resident businesses; and youth-focused space and programs.
Bucket 3: Ongoing Local Granting —Ongoing small and micro-grants that can be given out to different programs and organizations that range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Every few years the community will be asked what the best areas are to focus on for the next few years. This could include, but is not limited to SDP initiatives, such as support for Regent Park community events; support for local organizations and groups; support for local micro-enterprises and local entrepreneurs; jobs and skills training; community health and safety initiatives prioritized by the SDP; other SDP priorities, and other community initiatives such as scholarships and bursaries, and social procurement from Regent Park resident businesses.
- For the Major Investments "bucket," what are the priority areas for spending the money allocated?
The "buckets" were informed by previous studies and consultation with Regent Park TCHC Tenants and market residents on priorities for investments in the community. The release of the new community-centric Process is the latest milestone in the Regent Park revitalization. It represents TCHC's ongoing efforts to engage the community in the use of the $26.8 million in community benefits funding made possible through revitalization and TCHC's partnership with Tridel for Phases 4 and 5.
Feedback collected from TCHC tenants and market residents will be evaluated in summer 2023 and will inform different community benefits packages that will be brought back to the community for a vote in fall 2023. The results of the vote will be officially announced and celebrated at a public declaration later this year, and the selected package will be formalized in a legal agreement called a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), signed by TCHC and Tridel, and monitored and evaluated by CBOWG over the next decade through to the end of the revitalization.
To learn more about the process, complete a survey and get involved, please visit rp4and5.ca/community-benefits/.
"Toronto Community Housing's revitalization projects will make an indelible mark on the way future Torontonians live, work and connect with each other. To build the communities that make a great city, residents need to be involved at every step. Only then will the next generation of citizens see their hopes and desires reflected in the city we leave for them and the pathways to opportunity that we open for them."
- Jag Sharma, President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing Corporation
"We are excited to announce the launch of the Community Benefits engagement process and hear from Regent Park residents. Through this process, residents can have a hand in deciding how tens of millions of dollars in community benefits funding will stimulate economic growth and strengthen the Regent Park community. We're grateful for the energy and interest that residents have shown to-date and are happy to involve them again at this critical step."
- Jessica Hawes, Chief Development Officer (Acting), Toronto Community Housing Corporation
"The launch of the CBA engagement process brings us closer to turning this investment into tangible results for economic and social progress for the whole community, a key element of TCHC's revitalization approach to city-building. The process is a year in the making, and we want to thank our process co-designers, CBOWG and Tridel, as well as our specialists in equitable City-building and participatory design, Monumental Consulting, for their support in creating this comprehensive, community-centered engagement process to learn what residents care about most."
- William Mendes, Director, Program Development, Toronto Community Housing Corporation