Creativity and Knowledge Sharing, Keystones of Resilience
Like many other social advances in our society, modern community housing took root in the postwar era. Housing, along with education, health, old-age pensions, and other programs, gradually weaved the social safety net providing vital services accessible to all inhabitants of this territory.
For and by the community
As with all social programs, government housing policies have seen their ups and downs over time. But 70 years after its inception, the sector has grown into a well-established universe that can proudly testify to the ability of communities to acquire, build, and manage a building stock that provides adequate and affordable housing to hundreds of thousands of people living between the three oceans that surround us.
As the name suggests, the main feature of community housing is that it is owned and managed by the community itself. Over time, the creativity and inventiveness of individuals and communities have made it possible to develop various formulas (cooperative, non-profit, land trust, cohabitation, “share equity mortgage” loans, municipal housing, etc.) fitting the specific conditions with which they are faced. Each time the economy, legal framework, and demographic and social context evolve, community housing adjusts, reinvents itself, and finds appropriate solutions.
Today, the community housing sector is again at a crossroads and must find ways to respond to the specific challenges that accompany the particular circumstances we are facing.
The entire real estate world is undergoing significant structural changes brought about by elements that were completely unknown just a few years ago, namely,, among others, financialization, the gentrification of urban centers, a rapidly ageing population, a reduction in the size of households, new government policies, and the emergence of environmental concerns.
Other internal elements, although having been foreseeable for some time, confront us and require immediate adjustments, such as the end of operating agreements binding most community housing providers to a government and housing stock in need of major repairs.
In responding to these and other challenges, the communal nature of the community housing sector emerges as its main strength. This nature is expressed, first of all, by the involvement of tens of thousands of people willing to devote time, intelligence, and effort to positively contribute to the realization of the right to housing for all.
For the Centre, this means that as a sector, we must use the energy, goodwill, and collective expertise of our members, tenants, employees, partners, and allies. Together, these people and organizations represent an extraordinary pool of knowledge, experience, and creativity. We must, collectively, find the best tools, the most ambitious means, and the most effective methods. It is also owing to and through this community knowledge that we are able to educate ourselves, test different solutions, and learn from each other’s experiences. The meaning of the term “community” clearly includes our allies and friends. We must also examine practices that are currently unknown to us but may already be at work in other jurisdictions or other economic and social sectors.
To succeed in meeting the challenge of resilience and being true to our roots, we must ensure that the reflections and experiences we engage in protect our values and are closely monitored and evaluated by our democratic structures. After all, saving our assets but losing our soul would not be a victory.
In light of the above, the role of the Centre is to support to its best ability the resilience of the sector by developing and implementing innovative practices that will facilitate the maintenance, development, and improvement of the services offered by community housing providers of all shapes and sizes. The Centre does this by carefully following the evolution of these experiences and sharing the results obtained with the whole sector. Thus, by seeking the most active and effective collaborations and partnerships possible with all organizations in the sector that share this vision, the knowledge developed with our resources will belong to the entire community housing world.
Upon these assertions and ambitions, the Centre commits itself to:
- Improve the quality of management and governance in the sector
- Enhance community housing providers’ awareness of their business results
- Support providers in exploring new management and business models
Learn about News and Awarded Projects that relate to
Resilience and Innovative Practices
Mentorship: Bring your skills and knowledge of the community housing sector to the next level!
The Housing Professionals Mentorship Program (HPMP), run by the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) is accepting applications until November 30th for its 2022-2023 cohort. This is a unique opportunity to connect with peers from across Canada and to expand...
Housing Central 2022: Workshop on acquisition in the community housing sector
Every year in Canada, more affordable housing is lost than is built, with some estimates showing that for every home constructed renting under $750, fifteen homes are lost. Despite this stark reality, federal and provincial affordable housing programs have not yet...
Let’s “Think Big” together at the ONPHA Conference and change the scale of community housing’s impact
Centre staff are looking forward to seeing community housing staff, tenants, and volunteers from across Ontario and beyond, at the 2022 ONPHA Conference, November 3 – 5 in Toronto. On Thursday, November 3rd, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm ET, you’ll be able to attend our...
The Centre supports greener community housing with 29 projects totalling $260,000 across Canada!
Housing construction in Canada is generally done with little regard for the environment and the local ecosystem. Whether it's the materials used, the construction techniques, the engineering or the architecture, developers too often focus only on their immediate...
Regional energy coaches help housing providers save energy and money
While we now know housing plays a significant role in carbon emissions, many community housing providers are confused about steps to take to reverse the trend. Concerned with rising energy prices and renovation costs, groups turn to the Centre’s regional energy coaches for valuable, free of charge, expertise.
Winnipeg co-op hoping to be passive-housing prototype
Afraid they could be pushed out of their changing neighbourhood, a group of neighbours organized and formed their own cooperative. A shared passion for environmentally friendly design lay the groundwork for a net-zero, and socially inclusive, housing ecosystem.
Environment-friendly project ideas eligible for the Centre’s funding
The construction and operation of buildings is responsible for a large part of global carbon emissions. Ever wondered how you can do your part to make housing greener? Here are a few ideas—that could also benefit from a grant from the Centre—to get you started.
Blueprint for a livable city: Glassworks Cooperative
Out of the mists of Owen Sound, Ontario, a net-zero land trust project is taking form that hopes to inspire and encourage ecologically sustainable forms of modern, non-profit housing communities across Canada.
Smoothing the way for Indigenous collaboration
Indigenous people are often the first to feel the effects of climate change. From disruptions of traditional hunting and fishing routines to shortened ice-road seasons, the ecological crisis affects daily life in very concrete ways in Canada’s northern communities. Since housing is the largest consumer of energy, the Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) Social Enterprise seeks to share innovative approaches both within Indigenous communities and with the community-housing sector as a whole.
Sectoral Impact Projects
Develop new services, models or tools to help the sector build and manage affordable housing.
Sector Transformation Fund
Enhance the capacity of your local organization to provide affordable housing in a better way.
Community-Based Tenant Initiative
Develop projects that aim to engage tenants/co-op members in housing decisions that affect them.