Below, you will find a notice from the City of Toronto, which shares important details about the recent changes to the eligibility requirements for all tenants and household members that are living in rent-geared-to-income units. The new eligibility requirements explained in the notice will take effect on March 1, 2024. This means that they will be in effect for all RGI households when Circle conducts the 2024 Annual Income Review process.
This notice was mailed to all Circle households earlier this month. You can also download the notice as a PDF here. If you have any questions, please contact our Tenant Services Department.
The fall edition of our tenant newsletter - Scatter Notes - is out! Print copies of the newsletter were mailed to all Circle households earlier this month, and include helpful updates, messages from our staff, a feature article written by one of our Tenants, and more. To view the full Fall issue, click here.
2022 was a big and busy year for Circle. We're excited to share our first annual report with our Tenants, partners, and community. This report tells the amazing story of the fight to save the Scattered Homes and Circle's founding, and highlights the many accomplishments and lessons learned from our first year. View it at this link.
**UPDATE** We are going ahead with the event today (Monday July 24th) as planned. There is a small chance of rain but we will have tents, and the park has a large covered area next to the park's oven. See you there!
It’s now been over a year since the first Scattered Homes were transferred from TCHC to Circle, and we started meeting our Tenants. To celebrate, Circle is hosting a get-together at Fairmount Park (near Gerrard and Coxwell), where Tenants and Circle staff can meet each other, hang out, and enjoy some fresh pizza that will be baked in the park’s wood-burning oven, as well as other treats – all courtesy of Circle! All the details and the RSVP form are below. RSVPing is not required to attend – but it does help us plan. We hope to see you there!
Pizza in the Park with Circle
Monday July 24th, 5:30-7:30pm
(Rain date: Tuesday July 25th)
Fairmount Park - 1725 Gerrard St East, east of Coxwell
Washrooms, wading pool and playground on-site
The park is wheelchair-accessible, but the washrooms are not
Best spot for Wheeltrans drop-off: corner of Beaton Ave & Wrenson Rd
TTC directions below – Note service disruptions related to construction
This is a FREE event!
Please RSVP at this link (not required): https://forms.office.com/r/urj3eNKB6G
If you have any questions, email email@example.com or call Ivy at 437-781-8432, ext 3.
We are excited to have a team of cooks who were trained as part of a Na Me Res Sagatay job training program making us fresh woodfired pizza in the park’s brick oven. Please consider bringing a pizza topping to share for fun - our cooks can add it to the pizza while they bake!
We know that our homes are spread out all over the City, but we’ve also heard that many Tenants are eager for opportunities to meet each other. So, we’ve chosen Fairmount Park as the site for our first event, since there are many Circle homes close by. Are you a Circle Tenant and want us to host a similar event closer to where you live? Let us know!
As always, a reminder that Covid-19 is still spreading in our communities. If you feel sick, or have been in recent contact with anyone who tested positive for Covid-19, please stay home to keep everyone safe.
TTC Directions – Important changes due to construction!
Due to road work, the nearby intersection of Gerrard and Coxwell will be closed to all traffic, which is disrupting a few TTC routes including the 22 Coxwell bus (which is not running), and the 506 Streetcar (which is being diverted). You can find the full updated TTC information at this link. The best options for getting to Fairmount Park by TTC are below:
We're excited to be launching our new Tenant Newsletter! The first issue was mailed to all Circle households this month, and includes helpful updates, messages from our staff, a feature article written by one of our Tenants, and more. The next issue is coming later this year. To view the full Summer issue, click here.
The latest updates from the Circle team are below!
Water Heater Audit: It has come to Circle’s attention that some of our Tenants pay the rental cost of their water heater, while others do not. We're planning to make this equal by taking on the cost of all primary water heater rentals in our homes. If you are a Circle Tenant and are currently paying a rental fee for your water heater (or if you’re not sure if you are paying for it or not), please email a scan or picture of your bill to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail a copy of your bill to the address on our contact page.
Ecofitt/CLEAResult Energy Retrofit Inspections: Circle is currently working with the company Ecofitt/CLEAResult to take advantage of programs that are available to improve energy efficiency in the homes. These programs can provide updates that include topping-up insulation, replacement of inefficient appliances, and more, resulting in lower energy costs and improved comfort. Ecofitt/CLEAResult has already started program assessments for some Circle homes – Watch out for a call from them to book yours. Please contact Kathy Kurtz if you have any questions: email@example.com, 437-781-8432 ext 207. These opportunities are available because Circle is participating in Enbridge's Home Winterproofing Program, and the IESO's Energy Assistance Program. You can learn more about these programs at the links below. Please note that all Circle homes are eligible for assessment.
Circle is looking for Tenant input on our Mission & Vision! Please get in touch with Ivy if you would like to know more, and get involved, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 437-781-8432 ext 3.
Wishing all of our Tenants and families are happy and healthy summer!
One of Circle’s top priorities as the new owner of over 550 houses is to bring all the homes into a state of good repair over the next five years. We know that Tenants have been waiting for updates, and want to learn more about the next steps in making this vision a reality.
A Five Year Plan for Longterm Solutions
Repairing and renovating so many homes in five years is a big undertaking. The good news is that Circle is going to do the work properly, rather than turning to bandaid solutions. But it’s going to take time to get it all done, while also attending to the many day-to-day maintenance needs that come up. Because there are so many homes in need of major repairs, Circle will be addressing those in the worst condition first, and systematically working through the rest according to severity. We know that this may be frustrating for some Tenants to hear, since many of you have long-standing issues in your homes. Our team appreciates your patience as we work through the very long list.
Since we took ownership in Summer 2022, our two full-time home inspectors have been performing an average of 15 inspections per week, so that Circle can get a complete picture of the work required. From there, our Asset Management team has been using the findings to formulate repair and renovation plans to tackle everything efficiently and equitably in the coming months, and years. If you are a Circle Tenant, you'll be receiving a letter in the mail that gives specific details about the findings from your home inspection. You can also take a look at the infographic below to get an overview of our plans and timelines.
Rent-Geared-to-Income Annual Review Updates for 2023
The next Annual Income Review process for all Circle RGI Tenants is being slated for 2024. This means that RGI rents will remain the same until the 2024 Annual Review Process is complete.
However, if you are a Circle RGI Tenant and your income or household composition has changed since your last review, you must contact our Tenant Services department for an Interim Review. Failure to do so may result in retroactive charges from Circle in 2024 to make up the rent that you owe.
Please contact the Tenant Services Department with any questions: email@example.com, or 437-781-8432 ext 2.
Change in the Tax Status of Circle's Homes, and How this Affects Tenants
During 2022, the ownership of Circle's homes was transferred to us from the previous owner Toronto Community Housing ("TCHC"). As part of the transfer process, Circle was granted exemption from paying municipal property taxes on all of those properties. This means that when our Tenants' homes transferred from TCHC to Circle, the City stopped charging property tax on those buildings.
How does this affect Tenants?
When filing annual income taxes, many Tenants apply for the Ontario Trillium Benefit (“OTB”), which includes a number of provincial tax credits. One of the credits that makes up the OTB is the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (“OEPTC”). In order to be eligible for the OEPTC, a Tenant must live in a building that is subject to municipal property tax. Since Circle's homes became exempt from these taxes during 2022, our Tenants will only be eligible for the months when their homes were owned by TCHC, and were not yet tax-exempt. This eligibility requirement is outlined on the Canada Revenue Agency's Q&A page about the OTB at this link (scroll to Question 11).
I am a Circle Tenant. If I claim the OEPTC for months in 2022 that I was not eligible, will the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) adjust the claim for me?
To our knowledge, the CRA does not always verify the tax status of a residence at the time of filing. This has meant that some Tenants who live in tax-exempt buildings have mistakenly collected the OEPTC for years, and then have been asked to pay it back to the CRA years later. (You can read about a recent situation with some TCHC Tenants in this CBC news article). So, it is important to make sure that you are only applying for tax credits that you are eligible for, otherwise you may be required to pay money back to the CRA.
What steps should Circle Tenants take?
Filing your taxes correctly is your responsibility. We recommend that Tenants work with your tax preparer or accountant, or connect with one of the free or discounted tax clinics listed below, so that they can advise you on which credits you are eligible for. Most of these clinics require advance registration. This information is also being mailed to your home in a letter. We recommend that you bring a copy of that letter to show the person helping prepare your taxes.
Who can I contact for more information?
If you have questions for TCHC, or would like 2022 rent receipts for the months that TCHC owned your home, please contact the TCHC Call Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-981-5500.
If you have questions for Circle, please contact Tenant Engagement Coordinator Ivy Farquhar-McDonnell at email@example.com, or 437-781-8432 ext 3.
Free and Discounted Tax Clinics – Downtown/East Toronto
Applegrove Community Complex – 60 Woodfield Rd (Queen St E & Greenwood)
Ralph Thornton Community Centre – 765 Queen St East (at Broadview Ave)
416-392-6810 Ext 221
Woodgreen Community Services – 815 Danforth Ave (at Pape Ave)
416-645-6000 ext. 1187
Toronto Reference Library – 789 Yonge St (at Bloor St)
Free and Discounted Tax Clinics – Scarborough/Malvern
AccessPoint on Danforth – 3079 Danforth Ave (Danforth & Victoria Park Ave)
Fairview Public Library – 35 Fairview Maill Dr (Sheppard Ave & Hwy 404)416-395-5750
Highland Creek Library - 3550 Ellesmere Road (Ellesmere Rd & Conlins Rd)
Malvern Christian Assembly – 6705 Sheppard Ave E (Sheppard E & Neilson Rd)
Energy Retrofit Inspections: Circle is working with the contractor Ecofitt to take advantage of programs that are currently available to help improve energy efficiency in homes. These programs can provide updates that include topping up insulation in attics and outer walls, replacement of inefficient appliances, and more, with the goal of lowering energy costs and improving comfort in the home. Over the next six months, Ecofitt will be contacting Tenants directly to arrange home visits, to determine if your home qualifies.
These opportunities are available because Circle is participating in Enbridge's Home Winterproofing Program, and the IESO's Energy Assistance Program. You can learn more about the programs, and eligibility rules at the links below. If you have questions about this program, contact Kathy Kurtz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reminder - Furnace Maintenance: Circle has contracted two companies – Enercare, and Reliance Home Comfort – to perform annual maintenance on furnaces to ensure that they are functioning, and to assess the condition of the equipment for longer-term planning. Representatives from Enercare or Reliance will be contacting Tenants directly to schedule appointments. You can expect a call from them, if you haven’t already received one.
The Circle LandTrust office is moving out of our current location at 359 Eastern Avenue on January 30th, 2023, and will be opening our new office at 365 Bloor Street East, Suite 1902, on February 20th, 2023. During the transition, all staff will still be available by phone and email. All phone numbers will stay the same. However, while we settle into our new location, in-person visits to the office will be by appointment-only until further notice. If you do visit our new location, please see the main floor concierge when you arrive to access our office. Our new location is a 2-minute walk from Sherbourne Subway Station. All mail delivered to 359 Eastern will be forwarded to our new address. This information is also being mailed in a letter to Tenants' homes.
We appreciate your patience, and look forward to welcoming Tenants into our new space soon.