Established in 2007, after the Canadian Federal Government budget allocated $300 million to create a Fund designated to expand the range of housing options for Aboriginal people living on reserve, the First Nations Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) builds on the work of the Assembly of First Nations and the successes of innovative communities across Canada, in order to provide residents of First Nations communities with the same housing choices and opportunities as people in non First Nations communities. The FNMHF is the first national fund created to expand market-based housing on reserve lands by providing Aboriginal people living on reserve with a greater opportunity to obtain loans from financial institutions to build, buy, or renovate a house, while respecting the communal ownership of reserve land. By facilitating and broadening the range of housing options available, the FNMHF not only increases the housing supply, it also provides families and individuals on reserve the means to build equity and generate wealth.
The Fund also has a Capacity Development Program, which provides funding for First Nation communities that meet, or are close to meeting, the Fund’s criteria for the Credit Enhancement Facility. Funding is focused on creating the capacity in First Nations communities to support the administration of market-based housing programs by promoting the adoption of best practices.
As a Consultant for the First Nations Market Housing Fund Linda works with various First Nations across Canada Building Capacity in the following areas:
- Human Resources
- Housing Policy
- Housing Authorities
- Strategic Planning
- Comprehensive Community Plans
- Property Management Database Software Systems Analysis
- Property Management Training – “The Essentials of Property Management”
Some of the First Nations Linda has been working with are:
Moose Cree First Nation
The Moose Cree First Nation (MCFN) is located in the Community of Moose Factory on an island near the mouth of the Moose River at the southern tip of James Bay. The MCFN is a dynamic and prosperous Community that is working on behalf of its’ people to ensure that their lands are not polluted and that a healthy share of the wealth is generated by its rapidly growing resource based economy stays with their people for generations to come. Linda has been working with the MCFN through the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund’s (FNMHF) Capacity Development Program since 2011. To date, Linda has completed the following:
- Analyzed and made many recommendations to strengthen the MCFN’s existing Human Resource Systems;
- Explored Governance models;
- Explored various Property Management software systems and made recommendations;
- Explored the various models of Housing Authorities and advised on the Financial and Human Resource implications of each model;
- Evaluated the capacity of the MCFN to implement each model;
- Determined what capacity gaps exist and how to mitigate the risks that exist;
- Created a “Key Issues” Strategic Plan with a Gantt chart to show projected progress;
- Developed a new organizational chart for the new Housing Authority and re wrote all job descriptions to reflect the new Housing Authority and its organizational chart;
- Rewritten the Housing Policy to reflect the chosen Housing Authority model;
- Developed and executed a communication strategy;
- Community Consultation, including with Elders and Youth;
- Developed a Business Plan with milestones for the new Housing Authority to ensure that it is able to track and evaluate it’s progress in a timely manner;
- Worked with Legal Council, the Community, Chief and Council, the Housing Committee and the Housing Department to ensure that the Housing Authority is implemented with a solid Business Plan.
Chippewas on the Thames First Nation
Located on the north bank of the Thames River, the Chippewas on the Thames First Nation (COTTFN) is a progressive Nation, who through the promotion of sustainability and self-sufficiency, will help to ensure that its’ journey towards of new growth, positive change, healing and new possibilities for every member of the community is realized. To assist the COTTFN to achieve its vision, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF), through the Capacity Development Program, has hired Linda, with the approval of the COTTFN, to explore the various models of Housing Authorities, and advise on the Financial and Human Resource implications of each model; evaluate the capacity of the COTTFN to implement each model and identify any gaps in capacity that may exist; and how to mitigate any risks that may exist.
Whitefish River First Nation
The Whitefish River First Nation (WRFN) is a proud, progress and rapidly growing community of 1,200 Members of Ojibway ancestry, with approximately 440 people living in the village of Birch Island. The community, whose lands are approximately 5,600 hectares, is located on the shores of Georgian Bay and the North Shore Channel, Gatekeepers to Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
Through the Capacity Development Program, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) has hired Linda, with the approval of the WFRN, to review and strengthen the Nation’s existing Human Resources. Utilizing Best Practices to help the Nation build its capacity, the primary focus of the project consists of reviewing and updating the organizational chart, job descriptions, compensation scales, as well as interviewing and hiring procedures; writing an orientation procedure and handbook for new staff; recommending a communications plan for Staff, Managers, Chief and Council, and the Public; developing methodologies to recruit and retain staff; and developing staff training programs.
Misipawistik Cree Nation (MCN)
Misipawistik Cree Nation (MCN) is a Cree community formerly known as “Grand Rapids First Nation”. “Misipawistik” in the local Cree language means “Rushing rapids”, which were once an historical landmark in Misipawistik before the construction of the Hydroelectric Dam.
Through the Capacity Development Program, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) has hired Linda, to provide a gap analysis of the Human Resources Policies and practices of the MCN and to identify areas in need of strengthening and, to provide best practices models for leadership to consider for the implementation of effective Governance and Administration
Tsawout First Nation
The Tsawout First Nation (TFN) is one of the five bands that constitute the Saanich Nation. The TFN is a dynamic and rapidly growing Nation who, through the promotion of sustainability and self-sufficiency, will help to ensure that its’ people regain health and pride in belonging along their journey towards empowerment. Through the Capacity Development Program, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) hired Linda, with approval of the TFN, to complete the following:
- Explore various Property Management Software systems and make recommendations;
- Conduct an 8 day Property Management Training Program for the Housing Department to ensure that it not only was trained on the chosen Property Management Software system, but that all relevant input was done and that the system was implemented for highest and best use;
- Explore the various models of Housing Authorities and advise on the financial and human resource implications of each model;
- Evaluate the capacity of the TFN to implement each model;
- Determine what capacity gaps exist and how to mitigate the risks that exist;
- Develop a new Organizational Chart for the new Housing Authority and re write all job descriptions to reflect the new Housing Authority and its Organizational Chart;
- Create a “Key Issues” Strategic Plan with a Gantt Chart to show projected progress;
- Rewrite the Housing Policy to reflect the chosen Housing Authority model;
- Develop and execute a communication strategy;
- Community consultation, including with Elders and Youth;
- Develop a Business Plan for the new Housing Authority to track and evaluate it’s progress in a timely manner;
- Work with Legal Council, the Community, Chief and Council, the Housing Committee and the Housing Department to ensure that the Housing Authority is implemented with a solid Business Plan;
- Create a 5 Year Strategic Plan, with a further 5 year outlook.
Please be advised that at this time the Tsawout First Nation has decided to stay with the Housing Department model so the above mentioned documents have been amended to reflect this decision.
Champagne and Aishihik First Nation
The Champagne and Aishihik First Nation (CAFN) is a self governing First Nation with Traditional Territories in the Yukon Territory and Northern British Columbia that is committed to promoting a healthy, unified, and self-reliant people, while conserving and enhancing its’ environment and culture. Through the Capacity Development Program, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) has hired Linda, with the approval of the CAFN, to ensure that there is consistency in an overall comprehensive policy document for all of their Housing Programs.
Tataskweyak Cree Nation
The Tatskweyak Cree Nation (TCN) is located in Split Lake Manitoba that is committed to being a self-governing First Nation within Canada, securing social, economic and cultural benefits sufficient to sustain its’ people through the shared use of resources within the Split Lake Resource Management Area while sustaining the Natural environment through careful management based on an understanding of the interrelatedness of all things. Through the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund’s (FNMHF) Capacity Development Program Linda has analyzed the current operations of the TCN and made recommendations on which specific database and property management system will work best for the Nation.
The Tr’ondek Hwech’in are a self governing Yukon First Nation based in Dawson City. The citizenship of roughly 1,100 includes descendants of the Han-speaking people, who have lived along the Yukon River for millennia, and a diverse mix of families from Gwich’in, Northern Tutchone and other language groups. The Tr’ondek Hwech’in government ensures a strong and healthy future for citizens while maintaining connections to traditional knowledge and the land. Through the Capacity Development Program, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) hired Linda, with approval of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in, to perform an Operational Overview of the Housing and Infrastructure Department’s administration, policies and practices to determine the current role and future capacity needs of the Housing Committee, as well as the department.
The Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation is located on the north shore of Lake Huron. It is a beautiful community whose name means “two points joining.” Sagamok’s culture and language is Anishinabek and is made up of Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi tribes. Also known as the Three Fires People, the community members of Sagamok number over 2000. A little over 50% of the membership lives on reserve, with the remainder living in urban locations. Sagamok is a place of rich stories, legends and history that derive from time immemorial. Once the summer camps of the original people who came down from Biscotasing, it is now the permanent home to many of those descendants. Sagamok is an ancestor based village that is known for its diversity, prosperity and growth. Through the Capacity Development Program, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) hired Linda, with approval of the Sagamok, to conduct an assessment of the current housing operations, which included the following:
- Connecting housing to other elements of the Organization and considering the recent restructuring as well as economic development and lands activities related to housing; and
- Reviewing the housing portfolio and the future needs of the Membership using what data was currently available and how the Administration might best meet those needs.
The Serpent River First Nation is part of the unceded lands retained by the Ojibway who traditionally inhabited the North Shores of the St. Mary’s River and the Georgian Bay, of Northern Ontario Great Lakes Region. The reserve consists of a land base of 26,947 acres along the north shore of Georgian Bay. It is located on the Precambrian Shield and consists primarily of outcropping igneous and metamorphic rock containing large areas of granite. This type of steeply rolling topography and its effects on groundwater limits the types and locations of developments in the community. Through the Capacity Development Program, the First Nation’s Market Housing Fund (FNMHF) has hired Linda, with approval of the Serpent River First Nation, to work with the Nation to achieve the 7 priorities that Chief and Council identified, which include the following:
- Develop a plan to collect arrears;
- Develop a Five Year Housing Strategy;
- Develop Terms of Reference for a Housing Tribunal;
- Revise the Housing Committee Terms of Reference;
- Fine tune the current Housing Policy and fill in identified gaps;
- Develop Operational policies and procedures for the Housing Department;
- Arrange for Tenant/Member educational workshops that promote pride of ownership, including rights and responsibilities and basic home maintenance.
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