The Affordable Housing Development Toolbox is a series of learning, coaching, and mentorship modules to increase the amount of affordable housing development corporations across Canada and their capacity to create affordable housing. The Toolbox will teach participating housing organizations about business and capacity planning, internal finance, project risk assessment, land acquisition, developing funding and financing, and more. The Toolbox contains 20 learning and capacity building modules that will be taught through an intensive 10-month program.
Cahdco’s initial recruitment of housing organizations to participate in the Toolbox yielded far more interest than originally intended. Cahdco aimed to recruit between 5 and 10 housing organizations. Between November 2021 and May 2022, Cahdco had 60+ organizations express interest, had one-on-one discussions with 50+ groups, and had 30+ organizations attend six people-centered engagement sessions to co-design the Toolbox. Cahdco also recruited 14 affordable housing developers to be knowledge experts and mentors along with Cahdco. These organizations will assist with the delivery of the Toolbox and offer one-on-one mentorship to participants.
Cahdco ran people-centered engagement sessions to co-design the best Toolbox for the participants. During these sessions, Cahdco received feedback from participants and mentors about what should be taught during the learning and capacity building modules. Based on feedback, Cahdco adjusted its initial program of offering one mentorship program to offer two separate programs: the Blueprint program and the Foundations program. Cahdco will continue to use feedback to ensure that the Toolbox is suited to the participants throughout the implementation phase.
The Blueprint program is intended for organizations that are early in the development process and primarily interested in learning and gaining knowledge of development activities. Blueprint participants are expected to commit approximately 5 hours per month for 3-4 months. Following completion of the Toolbox, Blueprint participants can potentially graduate to the Foundations program depending on their organizations in-house capacity and experience.
The Foundations program is for organizations that have experience with development and are interested in building upon these skills to increase their in-house capacity and sell development services to others. Foundations participants are expected to commit approximately 15 hours per month for 10 months. Each participant will be paired with a mentor organization. Mentors will dedicate one-on-one time with participants to answer development-specific questions that might require more time and energy beyond the program’s teaching. A goal of the Foundations program is for participants to begin development activities and create affordable housing units. Participants of the Foundations program can graduate to become mentors or knowledge experts in the following years.
Cahdco’s goal is to continue the Toolbox initiative indefinitely, past the CMHC Housing Supply Challenge timeline. During the HSC timeline, of September 2022 to April 2024, Cahdco will offer two iterations of the Foundations program and four iterations of the Blueprint program.