2023 Awards blog_header

Celebrating our sector: The 2023 CHRA National Award winners!

25 May 2023

Leah Blunden, CHRA Communications Manager


The CHRA National Awards honour the leaders and innovators of the community housing and homelessness sector, highlighting the exceptional people and programs that go above and beyond to ensure a safe and affordable home for all. The Awards draw attention to the exceptional achievements of the community housing sector on a national stage and inspire positive change in the housing sector.

On April 19, 2023, CHRA was proud to honour the 2023 National Award winners during the President's Reception and Dinner at the CHRA National Congress in Winnipeg. Read on to learn more about these deserving recipients.


Community Builder Award: Organization – Aryze Developments

The Community Builder Award recognizes an individual, a business, or an organization that has had a major impact at the community level in promoting affordable housing and/or preventing and ending homelessness.

Located in Victoria, BC, Aryze Developments is an integrated home building, development, and urban planning team. They are committed to increasing the quality of homes and communities by providing housing for all citizens that reflect the diverse needs across the housing spectrum.

One of Aryze’s proudest accomplishments as a community builder is Tiny Homes Village, a transitional housing solution that used repurposed shipping containers to provide high-quality homes for previously unhoused residents. With support from more than 580 citizens, local businesses and trade partners, Aryze crowdfunded more than $550,000 and constructed the homes in less than six months.

Aryze supported Anawim House through all stages of development to build a much needed safe and secure women’s transitional house, working with them to reduce construction costs and supporting them in their CMHC funding application.

Aryze works to create affordable housing across the housing continuum. They opened Ross Terrace, a purpose- built rental building with an innovative program to help provide access to affordable housing, in January 2021.

Aryze understands that fostering community is about more than simply building homes and partners with like-minded organizations to advocate for healthy, inclusive, sustainable cities that make room for everyone.


Community Builder Award: Individual – Carolyn Ryan

Carolyn Ryan, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Manitoba Housing, is a true public servant, using her expertise, dedication, and her considerable skills as a consensus builder to serve Manitobans.

Carolyn was the provincial lead in the development of the COVID-19 response for Manitoba’s homeless population. In this role, she secured additional funding that worked towards creating an additional 200 shelter spaces in Winnipeg, expanded the operating hours of Brandon’s only shelter, and moved homeless youth from hostels into housing. Carolyn is currently leading the development of Manitoba’s provincial homelessness strategy.

Carolyn leads by example through her compassion, actions, and commitment, as well as her ability to bring parties together to arrive at solutions that benefit those who need them most. She collaborates with all levels of government, developers, community housing providers, and advocates to work towards ending homelessness in Manitoba.

Carolyn supports initiatives that build housing sector capacity, helps new organizations find their footing, and fosters connections across the sector. Carolyn was a key player in the creation of the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association, has been on the Board of the Housing Investment Corporation, and was a founding Board Member of End Homelessness Winnipeg.

As one of Carolyn’s colleagues put it “while she supports the building of community housing, her real skill is building bridges”.


Leadership Award: Cathy Crowe

The Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has shown leadership in improving housing in Canada through program innovation, policy change, outreach and/or advocacy efforts.

Cathy Crowe is a Street Nurse, educator, and social justice activist, who uses her voice as a writer and filmmaker to bring the issues that affect homeless people to the public eye. She the author of Dying for a Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out and has written articles for publications including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and NOW Magazine.

Cathy works with colleagues and fellow activists to foster coalitions and advocacy initiatives. She co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, which declared homelessness a National Disaster in 1998; an act that ultimately led to the creation of National Housing Day.

Cathy has received numerous awards and honours, including the Economic Justice Award Fellowship from the Atkinson Charitable Foundation and the International Human Rights Award in Nursing from the International Centre for Nursing Ethics in Amsterdam, and received the Order of Canada in 2018. Her memoir, “A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse”, was published in 2019.

Cathy’s motto is Advocacy plus Activism equals Action. Her fight for the right to shelter is an inspiration to those who work in the housing and homelessness sector.


Congratulations to the 2023 CHRA National Award recipients! Thank you for your dedication to our shared goal of ensuring a safe, appropriate, affordable home for all.