The Indigenous Internship Program: Strengthening community housing by fostering new talent – Community Housing Transformation Centre – Centre de transformation du logement communautaire
4 Oct, 2023

The Indigenous Internship Program: Strengthening community housing by fostering new talent

By Centre

A vibrant community housing sector requires strong organizational capacity. The Centre strives to meet this challenge within the sector through its grants and programs, including the Indigenous Internship Program, launched last year.

In any organization, succession planning is necessary to ensure continuity by building on previous knowledge. Piloted by the Centre and funded jointly with CMHC, this program aims to support this capacity within indigenous organizations through the provision of paid internships. It is designed to encourage leadership among young indigenous people interested in a career in community housing. It seeks to hone their skills, foster their professional development, and sharpen their knowledge of the community housing sector.

A rich program for future indigenous leaders in community housing

In its inaugural year, the program welcomed three interns, supervised by the Centre’s indigenous coach, Stefanie Einfeld.

The interns’ activities began with conversations with the Indigenous housing Caucus of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association CHRA, and with the Aboriginal Housing Management Association AHMA, two important leaders in the sector. The interns also had the opportunity to meet with organizations run by Indigenous people, or with Indigenous people as clients, to learn more about the issues facing different communities across the country.

Their professional development is accelerated through a journey rich in collaboration and training with the Centre’s various teams and partner organizations. The program also ensures that trainees take part in conferences from coast to coast. This is an opportunity for them to forge links with industry players, access workshops and participate in the reflections driving the sector.

“The Centre strives to provide an overview of all areas of the housing sector in order to foster understanding of the policies and programs that influence and shape the community housing sector at national, regional and local levels in an indigenous context,” says Stefanie.

Through their affiliation with the Centre, the interns had the opportunity to witness the creation of National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Inc NICHI, which took place at CHRA’s most recent National Congress on Housing and Homelessness. This was an important moment for community housing, as this organization’s first major mission will be to manage a $281 million budget earmarked for the development of community housing by and for Indigenous people.

One of our interns, Christina Gervais, had the opportunity to work on questions of homelessness with the Rural Development Network RDN. She participated in the creation of a data collection tool on First Nations housing.

“This internship has renewed my faith in people’s potential to lead positive change, even if progress is slow. The mentors and colleagues I have met along the way have been a source of motivation and encouragement. I am now firmly committed to contributing to indigenous communities and the wider community housing sector, believing that collaboration has the power to bring about meaningful change,” says Christina.

Looking for interns and partners

The Centre is actively seeking new interns to join our second cohort. This is a nine-month paid internship for Indigenous youth between 18 and 30 years of age.

The Centre is also actively seeking partners to sponsor the interns and the program for their own organizations and/or communities. Governments and funding agencies interested in sponsoring interns (on their staff or to support the sector in general) are invited to contact the Centre to discuss opportunities.

Sponsors will have the opportunity to nominate a trainee and ask the Centre to adapt part of the training to the specific needs of a jurisdiction. To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact us.

Stefanie Einfeld at the First Nations Housing Conference

Stefanie Einfeld will be at the First Nations Housing Conference 2023. This will be an opportunity to learn more about our Indigenous Internship Program. 

The conference, organized by First Nations Housing Community, will be held at the Vallaha Inn, Thunder Bay from October 24 to 26, 2023. Consult the agenda here.

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