As CHRA approaches the end of an(other) unprecedented year, we’re looking back at what we’ve achieved as an organization and as a sector in 2021. Read on to see some of our biggest accomplishments and developments from the past 12 months.
Policy and advocacy
We successfully lobbied for a second round of the Rapid Housing Initiative
In February, CHRA sent a letter to Hon. Ahmed Hussen, then Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, outlining recommendations to improve the RHI. This letter was largely informed by a consultation hosted by CHRA and the Community Housing Transformation Centre in which CHRA members and other housing sector stakeholders provided their feedback on the first round of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).
Our hard work and that of our members and sector partners paid off in the April 2021 federal Budget when the Government of Canada announced Round 2 of the RHI, promising a further $1.5 billion in funding for the affordable housing sector with the aim of adding a minimum of 4,500 new affordable housing units across the country.
We worked with sector partners to launch the ‘Vote Housing’ campaign
In June, we officially launched the Vote Housing campaign as part of a national coalition which included the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network.
This campaign saw thousands of engagements on social media and helped make the issue of affordable housing a dominant issue during the 2021 federal election campaign. Vote Housing will continue to engage the public on the critical issue of housing affordability and homelessness in Canada.
Learn more about Vote Housing.
We engaged with our members to inform CHRA’s Blueprint for Housing Strategy
In October, we launched our Blueprint for Housing engagement process with CHRA members. The purpose of the Blueprint is to create a set of recommendations that will inform federal housing policy over the coming decade. Discussions took place in six sessions throughout October and November, based on key areas of interest for the affordable housing sector, with additional feedback in writing and through key informant interviews.
CHRA staff are already hard at work compiling and analyzing the information that was received during the member engagement period to inform the final Blueprint for Housing, which we expect to share in mid-2022.
CHRA Indigenous Caucus
The Caucus continued to advocate for a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” National Housing Strategy
The Indigenous Caucus has been hard at work in 2021, continuing to advocate a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” (FIBI) National Housing Strategy to address the housing crisis facing urban, rural and northern Indigenous families and individuals, including the disproportionate representation of Indigenous Peoples living in homelessness and core housing.
These advocacy efforts took many forms: Caucus representatives served as witnesses to a Parliamentary Committee that studied this issue in the first half of 2021, the Caucus ensured that the issue was well communicated during the federal election campaign, and outreaches were made to the new federal government post-election. With all political parties supporting an URN Indigenous housing strategy in their election platforms, we are hopeful that 2022 is the year we will finally see such a strategy.
The Caucus continued its work towards establishing a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” Centre
Earlier this year, the Indigenous Caucus received a grant from the Community Housing Transformation Centre to undertake research and consultations on a governance structure and operations strategy for a proposed “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” (FIBI) Centre.
The vision for the Centre was articulated in the Caucus’ 2018 A For Indigenous, By Indigenous National Housing Strategy, and whose concept was endorsed by a Parliamentary Committee in June 2021. Over the last several months, members of the Caucus have been engaged with a private consultant to dive deeper into how the Centre should be governed, as well as the role it should play in the urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing and homelessness sector. We expect to share the report in early 2022. The CHRA Indigenous Caucus would like to thank the members and partners that have helped to bring this work to this point.
Learn more about the CHRA Indigenous Caucus and its work.
We held our first-ever virtual Congress
From April 26-29, we welcomed over 400 attendees to the CHRA National Congress and pre-Congress courses. This year was the first time we held the event in a virtual setting and we’re so proud of the way our speakers, board, attendees, and staff came together to create this event.
We’re looking forward to seeing you again in person at the 2022 CHRA National Congress, April 26-28 in Quebec City! Stay tuned to our communication channels in the new year for more details.
We offered a series of webinars on critical issues throughout the year
This year, CHRA offered 16 webinars on need-to-know topics for the affordable housing sector. Offering sessions on subjects ranging from implementing energy-efficiency upgrades to youth homelessness, and information and consultation sessions on different funding streams and opportunities, our webinars offered an opportunity to both learn and to share recommendations on key issues.
We welcomed CHRA members to our first National Housing Day Symposium
On November 22nd, we marked National Housing Day with a symposium exclusive to CHRA members. We welcomed over 200 attendees, along with Keynote Speaker Sandy Hudson, Founder of Black Lives Matter Canada and 12 additional speakers from the community housing sector to inform five sessions throughout the day on the theme of leadership and how it relates to the sector.
We’d like to thank our sponsors Home Depot Canada, Ellis Don, and the Housing Professionals Mentorship Program for their generous support of this event.
We became the national administrator of the Chartered Institute of Housing Canada
Effective May 1, 2021, CHRA became the new national coordinator for the Chartered Institute of Housing Canada (CIH Canada). CIH Canada is the national program for education, professional standards, and accreditation in Canada’s affordable and social housing sector, offering training, coaching and resources to housing professionals and people interested in working in housing.
Unfortunately, due to a complete update of CIH courses in 2021, CIH was unable to offer its full suite of accredited courses this year. However, those updates are expected to be completed shortly, therefore all the courses and accreditation streams will be open again in 2022.
We brought housing professionals together with the Housing Professionals Mentorship Program
The Housing Professionals Mentorship Program (HPMP) connects today’s leaders in community housing with the leaders of tomorrow to help strengthen and build sustainability into the sector.
In 2021, we matched 71 mentors and mentees from across Canada to build networks, develop leadership skills, share learnings about community housing and homelessness, and more. We received a 100% satisfaction rate from our participants!
We look forward to meeting and engaging with the 2022 HPMP cohort in the new year.
We completed the first edition of CHRA’s Tenant Leadership Group
In 2020, with the support of the Community Housing Transformation Centre, we launched the CHRA Tenant Leadership Group - an initiative to provide training, resources, and leadership development to aspiring tenant leaders across Canada.
In 2021, the inaugural program continued, offering workshops on tenant advocacy, social housing policy, Indigenous reconciliation, tenant rights and law, and more. We also worked to support program participants in finding opportunities to apply their skills and knowledge to tenant advocacy activities. In the process, CHRA learned a great deal from the diverse perspectives of those with lived experience of housing precarity and homelessness.
We’re excited to work with Tenant Leadership Group members on future CHRA initiatives.
CHRA's international efforts were recognized In October when Executive Director Jeff Morrison was awarded the International Research and Global Exchange Award by our American counterparts, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).
In accepting the award Jeff said ““Although I am humbled and honoured to receive this award, it does not belong to me alone. The Board, staff, and membership of CHRA have been instrumental in strengthening the community housing sector in Canada to a point where countries around the world are paying close attention to Canadian developments. I share this honour with all of you, and I want to thank all of CHRA’s members for being leaders in community housing not only domestically, but globally”.
Learn more about the award.
We would like to thank CHRA members, sponsors, and sector partners for the role they’ve played in everything we’ve accomplished this year. We’re excited to work together for an even more successful 2022.