The London & Middlesex Housing Corporation presents its latest strategic plan that will guide the organization through to the year 2020. This three-year LMHC strategic plan
is different from all previous strategic plans in two significant ways. First, the strategy declares the corporation’s intention to establish a new foundation for the future. This intention, supported by seven (7) strategic goals provides the architecture and scaffold- ing for the new direction. The foundation will be based upon regenerating, revitalizing and building new properties to house and, importantly, support the people of London and Middlesex County to help tenants experience safety, housing stability and a sense of community while living in LMHC properties.
Second, the process to develop this strategy was robust, intense and inclusive to achieve alignment of all stakeholders from the Shareholder to the LMHC Board to Tenants re- garding the commitment to change how LMHC is governed and how it operates. Figure 1 is an illustration of the alignment that we have attained during this process and how the 2017-2020 Strategy is framed by its new Mission, Vision and Values.
This strategy is also different in how it is being presented. We have carefully captured and distilled the significant events during the past 16 years of LMHC’ s history as a social housing provider. That context will help our stakeholders understand and support the changes that we have outlined in our seven strategic goals and, especially, the fourth goal to engage, assist and empower our tenants.
For added context and to acknowledge that we cannot get to where we want to be in three years without community partnerships, we have connected the LMHC strategy to several municipal plans that address homelessness, poverty, affordable housing and the City of London Strategic Plan, 2015-2019.
We have been candid in this document about the challenges that we are facing be- yond the traditional SWOT technique that deals with internal and external variable – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Our direct, revealing approach to describe our internal current reality will provide an evidence-based touchstone for the future.
Social housing is not the same as affordable housing. Affordable housing is open to a broader range of household incomes than social housing.Households do not have to be eligible for social housing to apply for affordable housing, though people who are eligible for social housing may also be eligible for affordable housing properties. LMHC wants to provide these housing forms (and more) to achieve mixed income profiles in new build properties as well as in some regenerated or revitalized properties. This will also provide LMHC with an improved income stream to support proactive operational initiatives and maintenance.
Many LHMC properties have reached the end of their useful lifetimes and need regener- ation. Changing demographics are not well served by projects designed for the needs of previous generations. For instance, 10 years ago, Wi-Fi would not have been considered an essential service and our aging population in London and Middlesex is living longer while their need for supports increase.
We have included an IT ‘White Paper’ in our strategic plan because information tech- nology and systems will play an increasingly larger role in how LMHC conducts its business.1 Technology will help the organization leverage its services while providing real-time information regarding its key performance indicators, metrics and measures. Having the right people with the right skills in the right positions will be essential for success while applying lean business techniques and tools to keep the overall staff count at an optimal level. LMHC currently has 56 permanent, full-time positions. The con- sultant made a preliminary estimate of additional staff that will be required to imple- ment the strategy and the final number will be determined during the development of the Implementation Plan between July and December 2017.
The Directors, Managers and Staff of LMHC have been waiting for this opportunity
to mobilize their initiatives and ideas. Culturally, we know that trust and commitment levels are variable because these elements have been measured along with three other dimen- sions of teamwork - conflict, accountability and results - that provide data points and a baseline reference. The people of LMHC are talented and eager for positive change so we will measure the five dimensions again at the end of 2017 to determine our pro- gress with teamwork, especially cross-departmental teamwork.
The Local Housing Corporations in Ontario, including LMHC, are managed by 47 Ser- vice Managers and there is agreement that they do not have access to the right amount of capital that is necessary to repair and maintain current units to a consistent standard of repair, let alone develop a new supply of units that is sufficient to meet increasing de- mands. LMHC will work closely with the City of London, the Consolidated Municipal Service Manager and the new Housing Development Corporation to identify financial tools and tailored, best practices to give LMHC more financial flexibility to implement its strategic plan. Access to the City’s VFA software for capital and asset tracking and analysis is an example of just one of the shared services that will add to LMHC’s corporate core capabilities.