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January 4, 2021

Happy New Year 2021!

We rang in 2021 just a few days ago with the hope of leaving uncertainty, anxiety and illness behind. Although, for most, the holiday season didn’t provide many opportunities to celebrate communally, the collective energy of new beginnings is very much in the air—hopeful, iridescent, a thread connecting us across cities, provinces and territories.

At the Centre, we are heading into 2021 with focus, determination and excitement. As we settle back to work, we can reflect proudly on the sector’s accomplishments. For starters, in the span of just six weeks, 42 quality projects from 8 provinces and 2 territories were analyzed and awarded by our program managers, allocating $1.6 million to project sponsors to help prepare their bids for the federal Rapid Housing Initiative—collectively paving the way to potentially build more than 2000 permanent social housing units.

Driving transformation, sustainability and growth in community housing

What an exciting time!” says Hope Jamieson, the program manager in charge of the RHI applications. “It’s wonderful to see the community housing sector put together such innovative, ambitious proposals in such a short period. It proves that with the right supports, like those from the Centre, community housing providers are ready, willing and able to pivot on a dime to meet the needs of their clients.”

But the RHI program was just one of many ways the Centre has risen to the challenge of its mission to drive transformation, sustainability and growth in community housing.

Here are just a few highlights from the 117 projects we greenlit in 2020:

Vancouver Downtown Eastside SRO hotels
In Vancouver, B.C., the SRO Collaborative Society was awarded $150,000 to improve living conditions and tenant engagement in seven privately owned SRO hotels. The Society was instrumental in convincing the city to adopt a $1-billion plan to acquire all 105 of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside SRO hotels and turn them into social housing.
Podcast One roof, one right (Un toit, un droit)
In south-eastern Quebec, La Fédération régionale des OSBL d'habitation de la Montérégie et de l'Estrie was awarded $110,000. Their podcast project, Un toit, un droit (One roof, one right), seeks to amplify tenant voices and strengthen the tenancy movement in Quebec’s Montérégie and Estrie regions.
ACORN Montréal
In Montréal, Québec, ACORN was awarded $42,000 to initiate a transformative process by establishing tenant working groups in target neighbourhoods where a considerable number of racialized tenants reside.
Greener Co-op Microgrants
The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada was awarded $100,000 towards its Microgrant program, which funds small projects across the country that reduce greenhouse gases , improve air quality, or help co-ops adapt to climate change.
Safe at Home Society
In Whitehorse, Yukon, the Safe at Home Society was awarded $45,000 for its RHI application with plans to convert 2 hotels into 117 affordable housing units.
Elders-in-Residence
In Kamloops, B.C., Lii Michif Otipemisiwak was awarded $100,000 to support its Elders-in-Residence program that assists Indigenous youth transition out of the child welfare system.
Housing Catalyst Fund
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Centre contributed $100,000 to the city of St. John’s Housing Catalyst Fund, supporting practical and collaborative projects that can lead to larger changes in the sector.

 

So, despite the very real tragedy that Covid-19 brought with it, the community housing sector continued to evolve and grow in 2020. We invite you to raise your glass or mug and toast to the year ahead. Working together, we can make “everything will be all right” much more than a rosy slogan, we can make it a promise for the future of housing rights across the country.

Cheers!

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