Toronto Community Housing Corporation
Alan has lived in TCHC since 2008, and brings a wealth of experience to the table, due to his extensive community involvement and participation on committees within TCHC.
Alan is current the Chair of the Health Committee for the Toronto Seniors’ Forum and the past co-chair and founder of TCHC’s Seniors’ Voice and member of TCHC’s Executive Advisory Committee. In addition, Alan is a member of the Lakeshore Area Housing Advocacy Group.
Alan is very knowledgeable in the field of social housing and is well acquainted with the problems that exist for tenants living in social housing.
Alan has many years of experience working with hard to serve tenants and connecting them to the agencies and programs to assist them with issues related to mental health concerns, addiction challenges and unemployment.
His commitment to improving social housing is apparent, based on the numerous committees he has sat on.
Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto
Dr. Amanda Grenier is Professor, and the Norman and Honey Schipper Chair in Gerontological Social Work at the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Baycrest Hospital. Her inter-disciplinary research in critical and social gerontology focuses on understanding the interface of public policies, organizational practices, and older people’s lived experience, with a particular focus on aging and inequality. Her current SSHRC funded research focuses on Precarious Aging and her books include: Transitions and the Life Course: Challenging Constructions of ‘Growing Old’ (Policy Press); Precarity and Ageing (with Phillipson and Settersten), and the forthcoming Late Life Homelessness: Experiences of Disadvantage and Unequal Aging (McGill Queens).
Manager, Seniors Services Seniors Services and Long-Term Care
City of Toronto
Andrea Austen is the Manager of Seniors Services at the City of Toronto, a role that was established by City Council in 2018 to better integrate City services for seniors including the 83 Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) seniors buildings. Andrea has been leading Toronto's age-inclusive work since 2011. She works shoulder-to-shoulder with City and Agency staff as well as seniors, caregivers, community organizations, equity groups, hospitals, long-term care homes, businesses and provincial and federal partners to improve the wellbeing of seniors across Toronto. Andrea has driven the successful development, implementation and evaluation of the Toronto Seniors Strategy Versions 1.0 and 2.0, and has a deep understanding of the needs of seniors across the health, social service, community and municipal service systems. More recently, Andrea lead the development of the Accountability Framework (approved by City Council in October 2020), to oversee and evaluate a new model of integrating housing and health services for seniors in TCHC's seniors designated buildings.
Toronto Community Housing Corporation
Anita is a tenant living in a seniors’ designated apartment building at Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Anita is an advocate and leader in her community, and has participated on several boards, including the TTC Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit, Care Watch Ontario, and numerous committees at TCHC. She is passionate about the health and wellbeing of senior tenants, and served as a tenant representative for eight years, before becoming the Chair of Seniors Voice and Senior Advisory and Advocacy Council, advocacy groups that brings information, resources and supports to senior tenants to improve living conditions. Most recently, Anita joined the Senior Tenant Advisory Committee in order to give advice and input to the City of Toronto and TCHC’s Seniors Housing Unit on the design and implementation of a new housing services model for seniors TCHC. Her leadership and advocacy on behalf of senior tenants at TCHC and the City of Toronto have been instrumental in bringing about change and improving lives for tenants.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, St. John’s Rehab Research Program
Sunnybrook Research Institute
Dr. Christine Sheppard is a credentialed evaluator and post-doctoral fellow at St. John’s Rehab Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute. She completed her MSW specializing in Gerontology at the University of Toronto before moving to the University of Waterloo to complete her PhD in Health and Gerontology, with a focus in aging and the life-course. Christine’s research focuses on enhancing health and wellbeing of community-dwelling seniors, and she works collaboratively across sectors to develop and evaluate evidence-based programs and policies to foster healthy aging. Her work in program development and evaluation has been recognized by the Canadian Association on Gerontology and the Canadian Evaluation Society. Currently, Christine is serving as an embedded research unit at the City of Toronto to support the development, implementation and evaluation of a new housing services model for low-income seniors living in Toronto Community Housing.
United Community Housing Coalition
Claudia has been with United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit Michigan for 10 years and worn many hats. She was originally employed as a housing placement counselor and assisted with the early days of the tax foreclosure program, overseeing the direction, hiring staff for the 2009 Housing Preservation and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP) programs, and the ESG program. She currently oversees Tenant Organizing which included supervising a 4 year AmeriCorp VISTA tenant organizing program.
She was one of the founders of the Senior Housing Preservation-Detroit coalition (SHP-D) and is currently the chair of that coalition. She has co-authored several papers on senior displacement and co-authored a chapter in "Forensic Social Work" published by Fordham University, NY. In December 2018, Claudia received the "Best of the Health Net Award" from Authority Health in recognition of her extraordinary commitment and service to community health care. Claudia has a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art.
Commissioner of Housing Equity
Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity, Toronto Community Housing Corporation
Cynthia Summers serves as the Commissioner of Housing Equity at Toronto Community Housing. Cynthia’s mandate is to support vulnerable and senior tenants living in TCHC who are in arrears of rent and facing eviction. To this end, Cynthia and her team have developed a ten step “OCHE Approach” to engaging vulnerable tenants. Furthermore she has previously served as an Adjudicator on the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board and thus has a deep understanding of issues related to housing.
With over twenty-five years in the broad social services sector and a Master’s degree in Social Work, Cynthia has extensive experience in understanding and supporting persons with vulnerabilities. At Humber College she teaches how to apply the use of ADR to engage vulnerable persons. Cynthia believes that it is necessary to develop a relational and pragmatic approach to working with vulnerable persons which recognizes the need for flexible and creative solutions to address issues related to housing at risk.
Professor, Department of Geography Fellow, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health
University of Victoria
Denise Cloutier is a Professor in the Department of Geography, and a Research Fellow with the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria. As a community-engaged health geographer and health services researcher her work focusses on both vulnerability and resilience on subjects ranging from healthy aging in community, to supportive housing and environments for individuals who may be living with dementia, stroke-affected, socially isolated, at end of life, homeless, and those living in rural communities. She is a mixed methods researcher and her interdisciplinary work is funded by CIHR, SSHRC and the MSFHR, and published in leading gerontology and geography journals. She is a recent Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and she is a recent recipient of the Provost’s Community Engaged Scholar Award - University of Victoria (2019-2023).
Senior Research Associate
Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies
Jennifer Molinsky is a Senior Research Associate at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, where she manages the Center’s work on housing and aging. She was lead author on the Center’s major reports on the challenges of housing an aging society, including The State of the Nation’s Housing for Older Adults (2018 and 2019) and Housing America’s Older Adults: Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population (2014). Dr. Molinsky’s work also looks at policy solutions to increase the supply of affordable, accessible housing, service delivery to the home, and livable communities supportive of older adults, and she has also written about the role of housing in wellbeing and health in older age. She holds a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT and a Masters of Public Affairs-Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, and has experience as a practicing city planner.
Seniors Housing Unit, Toronto Community Housing Corporation
Jill joined Toronto Community Housing in January 2020 on assignment from the City of Toronto, where she was Director, Strategic Policy and Planning. During her time at the City Jill has had responsibility for several business transformation programs, including the corporate customer service centre of excellence. Previous to the City, Jill worked in both the private and public sectors holding senior executive positions in the communications and energy sectors. Throughout her career Jill has leveraged her expertise in business transformation and strategy development, as well as customer service to drive a culture of continuous improvement. As Interim General Manager of the Seniors Housing Unit, Jill has been working with the staff in the seniors housing unit, the City and other stakeholders to design and implement an integrated service model for seniors living in Toronto Community Housing. She has also been working with the City to prepare for the creation of a new agency for the Seniors Housing Unit, as a standalone City services corporation.
Laura Tamblyn Watts
Laura Tamblyn Watts is the CEO of CanAge, Canada’s national seniors’ advocacy organization and a frequently sought-after speaker. Her work focuses on aging, inclusion, and justice. She has previously served as Chief Public Policy Officer at the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (2018- 2019) and in a number of positions at the Canadian Centre for Elder Law including as their long-time National Director (2004-2018). She is faculty at the Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work where she teaches a course in Law and Aging at the University of Toronto (2012-current). She was called to the Bar in 1999.
Linda M. Couch
Vice President, Housing Policy
Linda is the Vice President, Housing Policy for LeadingAge, an organization of more than 5,300 nonprofits representing the entire field of aging services. Linda oversees LeadingAge’s affordable housing policy work, which is focused on expanding and preserving affordable housing options for very low income seniors, connecting senior housing to health services, and ensuring affordable senior housing communities have the resources and tools necessary to respond to COVID-19. After 12 years with the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Linda rejoined LeadingAge in 2016 to identify and advocate for solutions to the unprecedented affordable housing challenges faced by older adults. Linda has a special interest in the federal budget and appropriations processes and has testified before House and Senate committees. Linda received her undergraduate degree in philosophy from the George Washington University and a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut.
Assistant Professor, School of Planning
University of Waterloo
Martine August is an Assistant Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on the political economy of housing and the pursuit of urban social justice, exploring themes related to gentrification, displacement, community organizing, public housing redevelopment, and the politics of social mix. She is an alumnus of the University of Winnipeg and the University of Toronto, holding degrees in Physics (BSc), Urban Studies (BA), and Urban Planning (M.Sc.Pl., PhD). Her current research examines the financialization of rental housing and seniors housing. At Waterloo she teaches “Planning for Social Justice in the Capitalist City.” Martine is a former Trudeau Foundation Scholar, and past recipient of the Urban Affairs Association Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award. She has worked as a housing policy advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in the Housing Policy Branch and Homelessness Secretariat.
Office of the Commissioner for Housing Equity
Melanie joined the OCHE in March 2014 and oversees the team of Early Resolution Officers. Melanie brings with her an extensive background in both Social Services and Social Housing.
She holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto and has worked with the Employment and Social Services Division of the City of Toronto. Melanie joined TCHC in 2006, where she held various positions, prior to joining the OCHE.
Melanie brings with her a deep understanding of the legislative and policy framework for Social Housing as well as the community resources available to support those tenants who are experiencing challenges.
Vice President of Housing
Volunteers of America – Michigan
Michele M. Watkins has been with Volunteers of America Michigan since 2013, beginning as the Regional Community Administrator and promoted to Vice President of Housing in 2017. Michele has over 25 years of experience in Property Management. Her credentials include Certified Property Manager Designation, State of Michigan Licensed Broker, Certified Housing Manager, Certified Tax Credit Specialist, Certified Public Housing Manager, Certified Occupancy Specialist and others. Michele is a 2019 graduate of Volunteers of America Senior KeyMakers Leadership Program. Michele also holds a Nonprofit Leadership Education Certificate from the University of Notre Dame. Michele became a commissioned minister with Volunteers of America in 2020. She is very active in the community and supports youth athletics, coaching track for over 15 years. Michele earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Louisiana State University. Michele is married and has two sons and seven daughters.
The Hasting Center
Nancy Berlinger is a research scholar at The Hastings Center, an independent nonprofit bioethics research institute based in Garrison, NY (US). Her interdisciplinary work on ethical and societal challenges arising from population aging focuses on housing and community and also on dementia. She was lead editor of the 2018 special report What Makes a Good Life in Late Life?: Citizenship and Justice in Aging Societies, featuring essays by design, environmental gerontology, and housing policy scholars. In partnership with Jennifer Molinsky of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, she produced the livestreamed 2019 symposium “Aging in [a] Place: Planning, Design & Spatial Justice in Aging Societies.” In 2020, she and Molinsky co-founded the Aging, Housing, and Public Health Research and Policy Network as a standing work group of policymakers, practitioners, and scholars from the US and Canada. She co-directs a Retirement Research Foundation-funded study of housing-focused responses to Covid-19.
Rogers L. Myers
President and CEO
Presbyterian Villages of Michigan
Roger L. Myers has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for Presbyterian Villages of Michigan / PVM, Southfield, MI, since September 1992. PVM is one of the nation’s largest faith-based, non-profit, senior living and aging services organization serving approximately 10,000 individuals across Michigan. During his leadership tenure at PVM, Roger has also served on numerous local, state and national boards; including two terms as the Board Chair for the Presbyterian Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (www.pasha.org) and was elected to the Board of Pensions for the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2014 at the General Assembly held in Detroit.
Roger received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI) in public administration, and was the recipient of a graduate college fellowship. He also attended a residential program in non-profit executive strategic leadership at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA).
Sander L. Hitzig
Program Research Director, St. John’s Rehab Research Program Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute
University of Toronto
Dr. Sander L. Hitzig is the Program Research Director of the St. John's Rehab Research Program and an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. His program of research is focused on understanding the long-term outcomes of persons aging with a physical disability, and works to identify factors that promote health and wellbeing in the community. His interests include understanding the role of social networks on health and quality of life outcomes following disability, developing and validating patient-reported outcomes, and evaluating novel technologies and clinical services designed to enhance community living. He is the principal investigator on a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation funded grant to work with the City of Toronto to co-design and evaluate a new integrated service model for Toronto Community Housing Corporation managed senior-designated buildings.
Dr. Seong-gee Um is a Researcher at Wellesley Institute. Her main research interests lie in the areas of health equity, diversity, and ageing. She has led various research projects on seniors’ health, income security, access barriers to home and community care and long-term care for immigrant seniors, and family caregivers’ issues. Her recent publications include: “The Cost of Waiting for Long-Term Care”, “International Review of Seniors Strategies that Support Ethno-cultural and Linguistic Diversity”, and “Senior’s Health in the GTA: How Immigration, Language, and Racialization Impact Seniors’ Health,” published by Wellesley Institute. She is a co-author of States and Markets: Sociology of Public Policy in Canada, published by Oxford University Press. She received her Ph.D. from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Governance at Université de Montréal.
Director of Client Services
GEF Senior Housing
Shanika is the Director of Client Services at GEF Seniors Housing in Edmonton, Alberta. She is a social worker by training and is passionate about ensuring that the perspectives of seniors are central to the decisions affecting their lives. She has several years of experience in education and training. As the Director of Client Services, she is focused on identifying and implementing innovative programs and initiatives to effectively support seniors in affordable housing.
Shellae Versey is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Fordham University. Her research focuses on aging in place, neighborhoods, and housing. Shellae's work engages themes of research and advocacy, exploring how older adults aging in place experience, and in some cases, resist gentrification. One of her current projects includes the Fighting Displacement Study, a nationwide study examining drivers of displacement (e.g., eviction) among precariously housed women.
Tam E. Perry
Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Wayne State University
Dr. Tam E. Perry is an associate professor at Wayne State University School of Social Work. Her research addresses urban aging from a life course perspective, focusing on how underserved older adults navigate their social and built environments in times of instability and change. She is co-director of the NIH funded Community Liaison and Recruitment Core of the Michigan Center for African American Aging Research. She also currently serves as research chair for a multi-agency coalition, Senior Housing Preservation Detroit.Two of her current projects are "Navigating Time and Space: Experiences of Aging with Hemophilia" and "Experiences of Belonging: Assessing Vulnerabilities of Older Detroiters Within Changing Urban Environments." She has recently been selected to be a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and currently serves as president of the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW).
May 11th & 12th, 2021
11:30 am - Arrival and Orientation
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm Sessions
All times listed are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
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