Cahdco has also recently started blogging again, you will have noticed recent blogs on our website about a modular housing event we hosted, the Arlington & Cornerstone projects being completed and the recent Housing Services Corporation (HSC) Regeneration Forum. You can expect that we will be blogging on a more consistent basis and I encourage you to continue to follow the blog.
The blogging hiatus in 2018 marked a time of excitement and growth at Cahdco, we added new staff, re-organized our staff structure, got some new clients and started construction on two new projects, the King’s Daughters & Sons and the Youth Services Bureau. Now that we have gotten acclimatized to all us this change and growth, we want to more consistently share our stories and bright ideas to create more affordable housing.
Why did we make all these changes? Because we think it will help Cahdco to contribute more effectively to create more affordable housing development. In the summer of 2017, the Cahdco & CCOC board, staff, and volunteers met to discuss strategic planning. Cahdco has had a lot of success, but there is still a huge affordable housing need, and Cahdco wanted to challenge ourselves to develop more. We wanted to discuss what has been working and what can we improve on and we observed that much of our recent project successes have been with our non-profit client projects (Salus, MHI, Cornerstone, KDS & YSB), and less with CCOC and Cahdco projects. In most cases our clients had projects that were shovel ready, they mostly owned the land, had prepared themselves to do the project and once they secured the government grant, were ready to begin.
We had been spending so much time on creating projects for other non-profits that there was not enough time and capacity to create the projects for ourselves, CCOC & Cahdco. We did not have the land ready to go and we needed to spend more time and effort on developing Cahdco projects. In late 2017, the Cahdco board decided to re-organize ourselves and add two more full-time staff to increase the capacity of Cahdco to do more projects. This allowed us to have three project managers (Anna, Cynthia & Kiefer), each with a project coordinator (Hadiya, Jana & Paige) to assist them, and we added a senior project manager Mark, to support and co-ordinate the team and all of our projects.
These staff changes have allowed me to have more time to help create new projects and find new clients. It would seem as though the opportunities have increased in recent months. We just finished our first CCOC development project in a couple years. There are also new clients (some we did not know existed until we first met them). More importantly there has been an increase in my availability to have conversations with others in the sector. This increase in profile has in turn lead to further introductions to other potential clients. There are new project types that we are working on, such as affordable homeownership, co-housing, micro-suites, seniors assisted living, addiction recovery settings. In some cases these projects start with housing and in others housing is a bi-product of the organization’s primary goals. Many of these opportunities are born out of a realization that stable housing is a precursor to physical, mental and social health.
Finally the ‘refocusing’ has allowed me to renew my passion for influencing development in the housing sector. I have been able to find opportunities to take advantage of the position we have been given to serve as leaders in the sector. This includes acting as the Housing Services Corporation board treasurer, assisting Linking Leaders to identify more champions of affordable housing in Ottawa, and advising several national initiatives to assist in creating more affordable housing.
I am looking forward to the year ahead. Please let me know if you would like to discuss further your project or the work of Cahdco.