2018 Opportunity Unlocked


Innovation in Housing Operations

This page highlights just a selection of innovative housing topics being discussed at this year's conference.

Changing times require a change of thinking! Learn how fellow housing providers, under different funding programs, rethought their assets and finances to continue growing. This session will explore how they turned their ideas and limited resources into new housing and growth.

110 Bus tour: Niagara Regional Housing: Building healthy and sustainable communities in Niagara
Friday, November 3
1:30-3:30 p.m.

Stream: Our Assets   |   Format: Explore

Niagara Regional Housing (NRH) operates and manages more than 2,600 public housing units for families, adults and seniors. As part of the 2016 Social Infrastructure Fund, NRH received an allocation of approximately $6 million to complete renovations and retrofits of existing assets to address water and energy conservation, as well as improve and preserve the quality of their housing to ensure its long-term physical sustainability. Join CMHC as they drive by a variety of affordable housing properties with a special stop at one development to see the seamless integration of well-constructed affordable housing into neighbourhoods that no write up or slide show ever can.

Sponsored by

“Me? An innovator?” We say yes! All of us within the non-profit housing sector have to innovate, whether it’s to meet emerging needs or just to preserve our good work in changing times. It’s time we recognize and share our good ideas to help each other and the sector. As part of ONPHA’s Housing Stability Project (to be published in Summer 2017), learn about eight innovative ideas that have helped Ontario’s most marginalized residents find and keep a home, and how these new ideas were able to flourish and grow.

Joy Connelly, Consultant & Project Lead

Unique housing challenges require unique solutions. Be inspired to approach housing from a different angle and learn of innovative approaches being used to serve populations that often fall through the cracks of traditional housing models. This includes Toronto’s Friendly Housemates program, which pairs adults with intellectual disabilities and post-secondary students; the 360°kids Nightstop Program that mobilizes community members to provide emergency shelter for homeless youth; and, Muskoka-based Solterra Co-housing, which offers co-ownership opportunities for seniors.

Donald Easson, Professor and Program Coordinator of the Developmental Services Worker Program, Centennial College
Bonnie Harkness, Director of Operations/Interim CEO, 360°kids
Matthew Poirier, Manager of Policy and Stakeholder Relations, Community Living Toronto
Shelley Raymond, President, Solterra Co-housing

311 Bus tour: Innovative housing in Niagara
Saturday, November 4
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Stream: Our Communities   |   Format: Explore

Safe, supportive and affordable housing is fundamental to the health and well-being of all people. Stable housing, combined with responsive and person-centered support, promotes residents' independence, self-reliance and increased engagement in the community. It also allows residents to gain greater confidence and realize their housing goals and life aspirations. Bethlehem Housing and Support Services will share how they deliver affordable housing and support services to provide a critical cornerstone for a vibrant, caring and inclusive Niagara community.

Sponsored by

LGBTQ2S youth are over-represented in the homeless youth population. How can we make it better now for LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness? A Way Home learning community has developed a free, online toolkit to help staff and organizations become better allies to, and create more welcoming and affirming spaces for, LGBTQ2S youth. This session will introduce this Toolkit and explore best practices with a focus on creating more inclusive spaces.

Lesley McMillan, Program Director, A Way Home: Working Together to End Youth Homelessness in Canada

Increasingly, agencies and non-profit providers have started to rely on fundraising as a means to generate much-needed revenue. How can we develop relationships to ensure that prospects turn into donors, and donors into long-term supporters? How can we move from "bake sales" to multi-million dollar revenue for programming or capital projects? Learn how Ottawa Salus has developed a sustainable philanthropic culture to support their initiatives and how you can develop your own fundraising arm.

Lisa Ker, Executive Director, Ottawa Salus

Community development initiatives play an important role in supporting residents and staff of non-profit housing in collaboratively building inclusive, welcoming and supportive communities. Learn how a neighbourhood-based resident engagement initiative – as part of a unique partnership between the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, Victoria Park Community Homes, Kiwanis Non-Profit Homes and McGivney Homes – is connecting communities, mobilizing identified assets, and supporting success and sustainability through the creation of community-based partnerships and solutions.

Victoria Kaulback, Resident Planning Team Member, South Mountain Planning Team
Greg Tedesco, Community Developer, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton

503 CMHC’s Affordable Rental Innovation Fund
Saturday, November 4
2-3 p.m.

Stream: Our Future   |   Format: Learn

In 2016, the federal government entrusted Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to administer $200 million through the Affordable Rental Innovation Fund to encourage new funding models and innovative building techniques in the rental housing sector. Through this fund, it is expected that up to 4,000 new affordable units will be built over the next five years. Join CMHC and explore how your organization could access and benefit from this initiative, plus learn how a 2017 recipient of this funding is putting it to use.

604 Strategic models for affordable housing development
Saturday, November 4
3:30-5 p.m.

Stream: Our Assets   |   Format: Learn

When we talk about affordable housing development, we often think of built-form, financing, community engagement, affordability, etc. But, how about strategic share-financing arrangements without government funding, portfolio replenishment/replacement strategies or non-subsidized development/redevelopments? As our sector transitions to a more modernized and free-of-government approach, these alternative models will become increasingly important. Learn how three different organizations from Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are contending and succeeding with the supply side of affordable housing – and bring a notepad, you’ll want to jot down these ideas!

Greg Dewling, CEO, Capital Region Housing
Kaye Melliship, Executive Director, Greater Victoria Housing Society, British Columbia
Cliff Youdale, Vice President, Asset Management, Ottawa Community Housing