In last month’s newsletter, we talked about the importance of acting together, introduced you to one of our volunteer project reviewers and celebrated several Indigenous projects. Today, we’d like to tell you about ourselves, since we have a lot of news to share!
First, we welcomed two new project managers in August! Brian Clifford is responsible for projects from British Columbia and Scott Stager Piatkowski is responsible for Ontario projects.
Brian has over a decade of experience in the community-housing sector, including seven years as a policy officer and analyst with the BC Non-profit Housing Association. Brian even moved from Vancouver to Montréal, but brought with him his list of contacts and broad knowledge of the realities of British Columbia.
For Brian, the work of a project manager at the Centre is much more than assessing grant applications and helping decide which projects get funding.
“It’s really to understand what’s needed: promoting the Centre to external groups to let them know of [our] existence, and tailoring projects to meet specific needs within the context of [the] provinces,” he says.
“I really want the Centre to be a go-to organization that groups see as a resource to be able to be accessed.”
Scott is based in Waterloo, Ont. He comes to the Centre with an impressive 30 years of experience in managing housing co-ops. “My role is to further the objectives of the Centre, which is building the sustainability of the community-housing movement.”
Scott’s knowledge and connections to the community are vast. He, too, intends to draw on his experience and his list of contacts to promote the Centre and encourage organizations to submit projects.
In fiscal year 2020-21, the Centre awarded $1,303,910 to 21 projects in Ontario. According to Scott, “the issues in Ontario are the same as in much of the rest of the country, but on a larger scale.” Challenges include reorganization many building operators require as a result of the expiration of mortgages and operating agreements with the federal government, and the desire to leverage existing assets to grow and meet needs. The Centre is there to support organizations through these changes.
Oh. And Scott wants housing co-ops to know that they are eligible for funding from the Centre’s Community-Based Tenant Initiative fund! The fund is aimed at boosting the participation of both tenants and co-op members.
Feel free to contact Scott or Brian to discuss a project!
We are also happy to welcome to the team Susanne Roethlisberger as a data-management technician. Susanne works more behind the scenes, but she is working hard on improvements to Portico, our portal where groups can submit grant applications, get tracking reports, use our self-assessment tool, and more.
Regional Energy Coaches
Hope Jamieson is now in charge of the Regional Energy Coach pilot project, following the departure of Amy Bolt to the CMHC (good luck to Amy in your new challenges!). Hope will continue to partner with Chris Rootsaert on the REC program.
The Regional Energy Coach program, a joint initiative with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, allows affordable housing providers to have a REC accompany them on an assessment of their energy situation and make recommendations to be more efficient and thus reduce energy consumption.
Hope would like to encourage organizations to contact her to request a remove evaluation at no cost! The savings can be very attractive. For example, one organization identified potential savings of nearly $60,000 over 10 years.
And you don’t have to commit to substantial renovations. These energy assessments can also lead to the identification of simpler, smaller measures that won’t cost a fortune.
“I want this to be a gateway. I think people who are not planning a big capital renovation may screen themselves out without even thinking about it, but there’s still benefits from the service for groups who aren’t there yet. We want to encourage people to just put their toe in the water,” says Hope.
And don’t forget our annual report
Finally, don’t forget to take a look at our 2020-21 annual report. This is THE reference to have on hand to know what we did during the year. It even lists all the projects we have funded. Enjoy reading!