Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter, designed to keep you informed about the recent developments, initiatives, and success stories within the First Nations Market Housing Fund (FNMHF).

We are excited to share updates on how we are working together to improve housing opportunities for First Nations communities across the nation. Let’s dive into the highlights of this quarter:

Dear Valued Members and Stakeholders, welcome to our latest edition of Foundations. I am delighted to share some exciting updates that reflect our continued evolution and dedication to serving our members. First, we are thrilled to present our new corporate video, Building Strong Foundations: Transforming Lives Through Better Housing. This video tells the story of our mission to address the housing crisis in First Nation communities, emphasizing the importance of diverse housing options. I encourage you to watch the video and listen to firsthand accounts of how our programs have helped support homeownership. [READ MORE HERE]

Our new video tells the story of the Fund’s transformation to better support First Nations families who want to live on reserve. In it, we hear first-hand accounts of homeowners and community members describing how our programs enabled the possibility of securing homeownership on reserve. You can watch our video here.

Board Meeting in B.C.

Trustees gathered at Sq’éwqel for the autumn Board of Trustees meeting in early September. This gathering brought together our distinguished Board of Trustees, representing the diversity and strength of First Nations leadership. It was a pivotal moment for strategic planning, policy discussions, and decision-making shaping the future of our organization. We are grateful for the dedication of our Board members and their unwavering commitment to advancing the housing aspirations of First Nations communities.

Highlights of the FNHPA Show

We are excited to share that the Fund had a strong presence at the recent First Nations Housing Professionals Association (FNHPA) Annual National Conference in September, where our new video was launched. We were inspired by the dedication and passion exhibited during the conference and look forward to the collaborative efforts ahead.

Notably, our own Jennifer Martin, Senior Program Officer, showcased her commitment to professional development
by obtaining the FNHPA designation. Her achievement adds to the growing list of accomplished graduates who contribute significantly to the field.

Meeting with Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council

In September, our management had the privilege of meeting with the esteemed Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council (NmTC) at
their office in Malahat, B.C

During this visit, we had the opportunity to explore a sample training kit titled Gimme Shelter—a valuable component of a
comprehensive training program designed for prospective homeowners. Recognizing its efficacy, the Fund is currently in discussions regarding the possibility of licensing this impactful material, opting for a strategic approach rather than creating new content from the ground up.

We are excited to share that the Fund has received an invitation to present at a virtual meeting with the members of NmTC on January 10th. This gathering will serve as a platform to discuss proposed changes to the Fund’s services, fostering collaboration and enhancing our commitment to providing meaningful support to our communities.

Akwesasne Career Fair

The Fund participated in the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Career Fair, in September. The event gave community members a chance to learn more about our organization and the positions that are currently available.

Several departments were in attendance, and some on-the-spot testing and interviews were even conducted! You can view a recap of MCA’s event here.

First Nations Housing Conference

The Fund participated in the First Nations Housing Conference in October. As the largest and longest-running event of its kind in Canada, this conference is a pivotal platform for housing professionals and stakeholders to come together. With the theme “Sharing our Wisdom and Shaping Our Future,” the event facilitated vital discussions and collaborations among First Nations, industry experts, and government bodies, all working toward the shared goal of sustainable housing solutions for Indigenous communities.

Welcoming New Staff

Welcoming these three exceptional individuals to our team!

Christopher Angeconeb, Senior Program Officer and a member of the Lac Seul First Nation, brings a wealth of experience with a legal background and a history of working closely with Indigenous communities. His insights into legal frameworks, combined with a passion for community economic development, make him a valuable asset in advancing the Fund’s mission of fostering housing market growth and self-sufficiency among First Nations. Christopher’s established rapport and communication skills with Indigenous communities will enhance successful program engagement.

Erika van der Grinten’s diverse background in First Nation Lands management, real estate, and credit underwriting positions her perfectly for her role as Senior Program Officer. Her expertise in developing financing programs and navigating regulations ensures smooth project implementations, aligning with the Fund’s commitment to empowering Indigenous communities in achieving their housing goals.

Additionally, we are pleased to announce the recent hiring of Jonah Keeshig, a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, as Administrator. Jonah’s dedication to supporting Indigenous communities is exemplified by his current position as Secretary on the Executive Board of the Odawa Native Friendship Center. His experience includes work within the Federal Government, specifically in Indian Registration and Adoptions, CEP Program Indian Residential Schools, and later at AFN, AFOA Canada, FNHMA, and FNEAA.

New Trustees

We are delighted to introduce our two new Trustees, Earl Commanda and Walter Schneider, who bring invaluable expertise and experience to our Board. Earl’s impressive background includes two decades of leadership as a Chief and a 17-year tenure as Chairperson at the Tribal Council.

Walter, with over 20 years of experience, has played a pivotal role in governance and financial management at Squamish Nation. We look forward to the valuable insights and leadership they will bring to our organization.

Growing Value and Promoting Excellence

We are delighted to announce that the Fund’s CEO, Travis Seymour, recently completed the CommunityShift leadership course through Ivey Business School, at the University of Western Ontario, in November.

CommunityShift stands out as a distinctive leadership development experience tailored for senior leaders in Canadian charity and not-for-profit organizations.

This week-long, in-residence program brings together a diverse cohort representing various sectors, including health, education, youth issues, and community service, fostering connections and collaborative learning.

Under the guidance of top faculty members from Ivey Business School, participants like Travis engage in meaningful discussions with peers, delve into their leadership identities, strategize for their organization’s future, and gain profound operational insights. The program creates a unique community of influential alumni that lasts a lifetime.

We are also thrilled to share that the class of 2023 cohort is featured in the December 5 issue of the Globe & Mail, highlighting their dedication to leadership development and the impact they are poised to make in the charitable and not-for-profit sectors.

Giving Back

We are thrilled to announce that The Fund recently made a generous donation of $500 to Habitat for Humanity’s Indigenous Program, furthering our commitment to supporting affordable housing opportunities for families across the country.

What makes this contribution even more impactful is the generous matching gesture from Urban Systems, effectively doubling the impact of our donation. In their acknowledgment, Habitat for Humanity Canada expressed gratitude for our dedication to providing a hand up, not a handout, to families with low incomes.
Through affordable mortgages tailored to their financial circumstances, we, along with Urban Systems, are collectively empowering these families to experience the security, stability, and pride that come with homeownership. Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity exemplifies our shared mission to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need.

Thank You, Lucille

2023 marks the last year of Lucille Michaud’s time working at the Fund, as she will be retiring in December. Lucille’s journey with the Fund as Senior Program Officer began in the fall of 2013, but her passion for housing and homeownership in First Nations communities dates back to her role as a Band Manager for her own community in the 1990s.

Hailing from Migisi Sahgaingan (Eagle Lake First Nation) in Treaty #3 Anishinaabe Territory, Northwest Ontario, Lucille brings over 40 years of experience in management, community development, and community engagement processes.
Throughout her career, she has fine-tuned her facilitation skills, completing advanced training courses and earning her Certified Professional Facilitator designation from the International Association of Facilitators.
Lucille’s final year with the Fund marks a transition back to her roots, where she plans to dedicate more time to family and community, leaving behind a legacy of impactful work in building strong and vibrant Indigenous communities.

Thank you for all you have done, Lucille. You will be missed!

Please note that the Fund will be closed on the week of Christmas (December 25 – 29) and on New Year’s Day (January 1st).
Regular office hours will resume on Tuesday, January 2nd.

We hope this newsletter keeps you informed, inspired, and engaged with the ongoing work of the Fund. Your support and commitment are instrumental in creating sustainable housing solutions for First Nations communities.

Should you have any questions, feedback, or exciting partnership opportunities you’d like to explore, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to listen and collaborate, and you can contact our team at info@fnmhf.ca.

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