Capacity Building for Success in Meeting Community Needs

Aug 20, 2020 | Indigenous News

Mamele’awt Qweesome Housing Society

$24,750 from the Sector Transformation Fund—Local Projects

Sometimes a little financial help goes a long way: like creating the space and time to strategize on growth, hire needed help, and move on to greater projects. Servicing its community for over 30 years, Mamale’awt Qweesome Housing Society (MQHS) has evolved from a grassroots organization meeting on-the-ground needs of rural-to-urban Indigenous Peoples to a cutting-edge leader who has grown beyond bricks and mortar to embrace a holistic approach. As the demand for affordable housing has continued to rise, they turned to the Centre for a capacity building grant, and we were happy to support an Indigenous housing provider with years of experience in the field. 

THE ORGANIZATION

Originally serving the small community of Mission, Mamele’awt Qweesome Housing provides housing and support services for people in the Fraser Valley in a way that ensures tenant safety, empowers self-determination and the honouring of robust agreements. Founded in 1987 to address housing shortages in Mission and the surrounding area, MQHS’ commitment to sustainability is notable: it currently has 244 units of affordable housing within 30 properties in their housing portfolio. As one of very few non-profit housing providers in the Fraser Valley, they play a critical role in housing crisis alleviation in their geographical area. They service singles, families and seniors with low to moderate incomes. 

THE PROJECT

As the demand for affordable housing has continued to rise, MHQS is expanding to serve additional communities within the Fraser Valley. This rapid, much-needed growth, however exciting, has brought to light related anxiety and apprehensions within its staff: there is an urgency to address its current human resource capacity and ability to meet its expansion while continuing to build healthy communities. With operational budgets providing very little in terms of training and capacity building, MHQS turned to the Centre for additional funding. 

“For any organization, experiencing a change in governance can greatly affect work dynamics for the entire team,` says Luc Labelle, the program manager assigned to this initiative. ‘This project is interesting because it includes employees in the strategic planning process and plans to measure levels of commitment and adherence during and after this big change.” 

In this critical transition stage, it is imperative to have a cohesive team working towards the same goals: the Centre’s grant will provide the opportunity for quality time reviewing, reassessing and renewing the organization’s purpose and strengths as a team. 

With this funding, the organization endeavours to facilitate a two-day Strategic Planning session with their board of directors, which will include a comprehensive 1 year, 5 year and 10-year strategic plan and a recruiting strategy. MHQS is looking towards long-term sustainability which will enable continued growth and expansion.

THE IMPACT

MHQS is an Indigenous housing provider: there are a large number of Indigenous Peoples in the Fraser Valley that can no longer house their community members because of a lack of space. It is imperative this organization continues adding new housing options to alleviate the current crisis. The Centre’s funding is a much-needed boost to ensure MHQS remains strong and keeps on growing and developing more affordable housing in the coming years.

By making its Strategic Plan widely available, Mamele’awt Qweesome Housing Society is also contributing to facilitating growth within the community housing sector as a whole. 

PARTNERS

The primary partners are Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) and BC Housing.

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