Putting the focus on people: The 2021 ONPHA Conference
We’re gearing up for the 2021 ONPHA Conference, taking place in our brand-new virtual space, November 10-12. This year’s theme, Opening doors through housing, invites you to consider excellence and innovation, both in our operational practices and the future of our sector as a whole.
Our Conference program is geared towards community housing professionals specializing in everything from property management to senior leadership, and designed around our strategic objectives:
- Cohesive sector leadership
- A people-centred housing system
- Building a sustainable sector
Read on to get a preview of day two of the 2021 Conference and hear ONPHA’s Senior Manager of the Centre for Housing Excellence Helen Harris share her insights into how our housing system can work for and with people.
Putting people first
Day two of the 2021 Conference will explore this year’s theme ‘Opening doors through housing’ with a focus on the people who power the sector and the individuals and communities whom the sector serves.
Day two’s sessions will delve into a range of topics that examine new ways to look at how we can build support systems to address the needs of people. We’ll welcome housing, policy, and social services experts from across the province and the country to discuss:
- the importance of Indigenous-led strategies in providing safe, affordable, culturally-supportive Indigenous housing solutions
- human-centred solutions for community housing
- Ontario’s social services transformation
- homelessness prevention and supports for youth
- engaging your employees in times of uncertainty
- innovative solutions for tenant communities, and more!
Discussing people-centred solutions with Helen Harris
One of the priorities outlined in ONPHA’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan is to ensure that people are placed at the centre of the housing system with solutions that are created with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind.
Helen Harris, ONPHA’s Senior Manager of the Centre for Housing Excellence, says that to her, putting people first means that “people are at the centre of all of the things that ONPHA and our members do in terms of developing, evaluating, and implementing community housing programs and supports”.
When discussing how this approach fits into ONPHA’s vision for the future of the sector, Helen says “as we go through a period of significant regulatory and legislative change in the sector it’s imperative that we put people at the centre of these changes. Historically, housing programs have been administratively complex and confusing for the people they serve. They’re often not set up in a way that makes them easily accessible or available for people to get what they need when they need it. Looking ahead, we really need to design a system that is flexible to better serve and meet the diverse needs of tenants”.
Of how this year’s Conference theme and program speak to the need for people-centred solutions, Helen says “what we’ll see throughout the conference, but especially on the day two, is a real focus on how organizations adapted over the past year-and-a-half to COVID-19 which has really made us all look at and respond to things a different way. I think we can look at how organizations stepped up, and adapted to the situation and that there are a lot of lessons we can carry into whatever the new normal will be. For example, a lot of the sessions that we’ll see are very focused on how organizations engaged with tenants and employees differently and the way that the sector came together and collaborated”.
Helen is especially keen to highlight the current work ONPHA has been undertaking with Indigenous partners to develop an Implementation Plan for the recommendations laid out in ONPHA’s 2020 Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Plan for Ontario, as well as the work other partners are also doing to advance the critical priority of developing Indigenous-led urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing strategies. She shares that “the housing sector has such an important role to play in advancing along the path of truth and reconciliation, and ONPHA is excited to engage with Indigenous housing leaders for a showcase of community-led strategies and solutions at provincial and national levels”.
Check out our website to find more information about the 2021 ONPHA Conference, the program, and the speakers. You can also find a preview of day one of the Conference and a discussion about leadership with ONPHA CEO Marlene Coffey right here on the blog.
We hope to see you in our virtual Conference space this fall!
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