Reflecting on BCNPHA Housing Central Conference 2017

  • Delegates share ideas about "What is home?"

On the eve of the federal government’s National Housing Strategy announcement, this year’s BCNPHA #HousingCentral Conference was the largest annual conference yet with more than 1300 delegates who came together to learn, share and grow as a sector. Several members of our CitySpaces team attended, and we were especially proud to present four sessions!

CitySpaces’ Principal, Gwyn Symmons, presented on BC Housing’s new Shelter Guidelines, a document to assist non-profit housing societies and development teams with the planning, design and development process for upgrading existing shelters or constructing new emergency shelters. Delegates operating emergency shelters and working with vulnerable populations took away key principles and considerations for meeting client needs through built form.

Jada Basi, CitySpaces’ Manager of Housing and Community Planning, presented Boom-Bust: Affordable Housing in Transitioning Economies. This session focused on the risks experienced by small and rural communities in resource-based economies during economic transitions, including inflating rental and resale prices during booms and high vacancy rates and reduced home values during busts. Jada shared tools and strategies to help mitigate these transitions towards creating resilient communities with sustainable housing markets.

Lani Brunn, CitySpaces Social Planner, delivered two presentations during the conference. Lani was a panelist o the first session on Inclusion and Engagement as part of the Pacific Housing Research Network Symposium. With co-presenter Marika Albert, Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council, Lani presented research on Engaging People with Lived Experience of Homelessness. The research was completed on behalf of the Capital Regional District (CRD) in order to create an engagement framework and toolkit for engaging people who are experiencing chronic homelessness in the Capital Region.

Lani also presented Relevant Voices: Engaging Your Tenants in Planning. This session provided a framework on how to include the voice of vulnerable populations and tenants in the planning, design, and delivery of housing and services. Lani shared ideas on how to avoid pitfalls and promising practices from across North America.

Our CitySpaces team enjoyed the networking, social events and many informational sessions that were offered during the conference. CitySpaces Project Planner, Spencer Andres, attended the Sector Supper on Sunday night where the YWCA Metro Vancouver was awarded the Housing Provider of the Year Award. Spencer also was excited to learn more about social sustainability research in presentations from CMHC, BC Housing, Brightside, and Lili Friedler Shulman from UBC, including tenant surveys and supportive housing outcomes. Noha Sedky, CitySpaces Senior Development Consultant and Community Planner, was also inspired by keynote speaker Shane Koyczan who conveyed the spirit of the conference in his address.

November 20th was Transgender Day of Remembrance and a meaningful day for the conference to host a session on Transgender Inclusion 101 by Prism Services. Lani was able to attend this powerful and compassionate training session, taking away tools to foster an atmosphere of inclusion.

Thank you to BCNPHA for hosting a successful event! We look forward to attending next year in downtown Vancouver.