Let’s Get Connected housing conference


When the community of non-profit and affordable housing providers comes together, there are always two issues that come up: the need for more affordable housing and the need for more sharing of resources, information and capacity. Given the continuing challenge and the always limited resources faced by so many organizations, members of the community have  done what leaders have done through the ages. They have  banded together to create partnerships, synergies and combine resources.  
The Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association, chaired by long-time housing advocate Menno Peters, was formed in the summer of 2011.  Just over a year later, on November 22 and 23, they will host the first ever MNPHA conference, Let’s Get Connected.
“We’ve long seen the need to come together to share our stories, solutions and challenges,” said Peters.  “We have to work together to make change because by working together we have more capacity. More capacity means more ability to create more affordable housing.”
The two-day conference is supported by Manitoba Housing and includes a gala dinner and entertainment by Sagkeeng’s Finest, as well as information sessions and workshops that run over the two days.  
“One of our key objectives is to bring housing providers together to share resources,” said conference chair Laurie Socha. “We’ve had a tremendous response to the conference. Providers from across the province are telling us this is exactly the kind of event they’ve been looking for:  a place to come to be inspired and re-energized and a conference that gives them concrete ideas and best practices information to help them to an even better job.” 
A series of plenary sessions will be held and concurrent sessions run throughout the conference.  
Three plenary sessions will be held for all participants to attend. The first plenary session features presenters that will look at how housing connects to the health of individuals and communities, now and in the future. The second plenary session will work to create a vision and plan of action for the future of the MNPHA with a chance for those involved to actively participate in an interactive way as the organization moves forward on how to support the non-profit housing sector in Manitoba. The final session looks at how affordable housing makes a difference in the lives of youth in Manitoba as they build their future and with it, the future of our province.
A series of concurrent sessions will also be held where participants can decide which topics are of most interest to them or their organizations. 
Connecting to the People We Serve  looks at how to balance being a compassionate and caring landlord with legislation runs and features speakers from the WRHA, Residential Tenancies board and other groups. It runs concurrent to Connecting to the Fine Print, which focuses on what boards and directors need to know about legal requirements, liabilities and the nuts and bolts of operating agreements, with a speaker from Manitoba Housing. 
Connecting to a Greener Environment, which focuses on the importance of creating housing that is affordable and affordable to live in with speakers from the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation. It runs concurrent to Connecting to New Housing Opportunities, which looks at the challenges and opportunities around partnerships between non-profits, co-operatives, municipalities, private sector developers and other organizations, with speakers from CMHC, Manitoba Housing and the aboriginal community. 
Two two-part sessions will be held concurrently. Participants who would like to find out more about safety issues can chose between Connecting to Safe Communities, which looks at preventing crime through social development, featuring the director of security from Manitoba Housing, and Connecting to a Safer Home, which looks and enhanced fire safety systems in housing, with speakers from the Fire, Health and Life Safety team from Manitoba Housing. 
Those interested in affordable housing and homeless initiatives can go to either a session which looks at Brandon’s response to homelessness, with speakers from the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, or one about the At Home/Chez Soi initiative currently underway in Winnipeg, which addresses homelessness through the Housing First model, featuring the director of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
More information and online registration is on-line at www.MNPHA.com