DTSSAB working with Cobalt to address challenges

Darlene Wroe

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

COBALT - DTSSAB has been working to find solutions to challenges occurring in board-owned buildings and units in Cobalt.

In a press release dated March 6, the District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board (DTSSAB), which owns units and provides social housing to individuals and families across the district, stated it has entered "a coordinated partnership with the Town of Cobalt to aid in ensuring the continued security and reasonable enjoyment for DTSSAB tenants in Cobalt. Due to the substantial number of buildings and units, and constantly evolving situations, the need for a collaborative effort was highlighted."

The issue was also discussed at DTSSAB's February 15 meeting in Evanturel Township, at which time board housing services manager Steve Cox stated the administration has been encountering regular challenges since early summer with both tenants and non-tenants of the buildings and units.

In the release, DTSSAB chief administrative officer Mark Stewart stated, "Fostering positive community partnerships allows innovative, sustainable solutions. This has included increasing the accessibility to tenants to access required community supports and improved communication. It is a benefit to all parties involved."

Cox stated at the February 15 meeting that because DTSSAB is governed by laws such as the Residential Tenancy Act, "dealing with escalating situations can take longer than desired. However, we continue to take steps to ensure the safety of our tenants and we continuously monitor each situation."

The press release continued that "there are procedures, such as evictions, that fall victim to a backlogged Landlord Tenant Board. The DTSSAB and the Town of Cobalt will continue to monitor, strategize, and proactively discuss how to maintain the reasonable enjoyment and safety of DTSSAB tenants and Cobalt residents."

DTSSAB has been holding regular meetings with the DTSSAB housing services team, Cobalt Mayor Mita Gibson, and town manager Steve Dalley. The Ontario Provincial Police have also been taking part in the discussions, it was also stated.

The partnership with the Cobalt "has proven to be an effective model that will benefit us in dealing with similar situations in other areas of our district," said Cox.

He added that there are cameras in some of DTSSAB's housing units and "generally they're installed when situations like this do occur. We have a plan to ensure we have cameras in all our buildings." Both exterior and interior cameras are being considered, he said.

"They've been very helpful in assisting our Ontario Provincial Police in some of their investigations."

Stewart commended Cox for his work over the last few months in coordinating with Cobalt officials to address "a very contentious issue."

Darlene Wroe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker