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Spotlight: Empowering First Nation housing professionals and communities

The First Nations Housing Professionals Association is a dynamic organization dedicated to supporting and empowering First Nation housing professionals across Turtle Island.
Top row (left to right): Darlene Marshall, Tabitha Eneas, Candace Bennett, Rosie Charles Bottom row (left to right): Seetta Roccola, Roxanne Harper, Nadia Paul

Since its establishment in 2019, the First Nations Housing Professionals Association (FNHPA) has dedicated their work to fostering innovation, collaboration, and partnership. The organization, which firmly believes in the importance of developing the capacity of housing professionals in First Nations, is equipping these specialists with the necessary knowledge and tools through standard setting, certification, and training. FNHPA aims to enhance housing capacity in First Nation communities and within the First Nations Housing Industry to promote sustainable and thriving housing programs.
The FNHPA was created during an incubator session in 2018 coordinated by CMHC, that brought together  long-term housing managers, education specialists, instructors and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to collaborate on identifying the duties, roles and responsibilities in First Nation Housing Management and Administration. 

“The participants prepared a feedback summary report and recognized the need for an association to support the professionalization of housing management,” notes Brooke Duggan, housing and wellness program coordinator. “They initially called themselves the First Nations Housing Professional Alliance and developed an early strategic plan and terms of reference, before renaming themselves as the First Nations Housing Professionals Association

To overcome barriers, the FNHPA formally incorporated in 2019, allowing them to solidify their status as a national (NFP) professional association, dedicated to increasing capacity within the First Nations Housing Industry.

Promising services and collaborations

One key offering from FNHPA is the certification program. The program consists of a comprehensive course path and a National Professional Exam. Additionally, FNHPA provides workshops, webinars, and blogs to its members, ensuring they have access to ongoing professional development opportunities.
Along with its digital presence like a monthly newsletter and Knowledge Centre, FNHPA has developed valuable resources for both housing staff and occupants. The Housing and Wellness Program addresses critical topics related to the well-being of housing staff, occupants, and youth, as well as the home itself. This program lends itself to supporting anyone living in a First Nation community by offering informational posters, videos, and monthly blog posts.

“Through the delivery of this new program, we hope to provide information and guidance to anyone living in a First Nation community,” says Duggan.

Exciting initiatives and bright future 

In November 2022, FNHPA successfully held its first annual conference in Winnipeg. With 292 delegates in attendance, the event highlighted the value of networking and knowledge sharing opportunities. The continued growth of FNHPA’s capacity building initiatives is also cause for excitement. The organization is committed to creating useful tools and resources that support First Nations housing professionals throughout Canada. By continuously evolving and adapting to the needs of its members, FNHPA strives to make a lasting impact on the housing landscape in First Nation communities.

“Moving forward, I am most excited for our second annual conference that will be held in September 2023 at the Wyndham Edmonton Hotel and Conference Centre in Edmonton,” Duggan notes, “and after the positive feedback from our first annual conference, I think this one will be a great success.”
The First Nation Housing Professionals Association is a visionary organization that champions professional development and empowerment. Through their innovative programs, educational services, and collaborative approach, FNHPA is making significant strides in enhancing housing capacity in First Nations. 

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