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November 22, 2021

Meet the Housing Supply Challenge Support Program Advisors

By Evergreen

The Advisory Committee supports partnership building, program design and resources as applicants advance their housing supply solutions.

Evergreen is pleased to introduce the national Housing Supply Challenge Support Program Advisory Committee.

Launched in October 2020, the Housing Supply Challenge Support Program, led by Evergreen, supports applicants of the Housing Supply Challenge by providing guidance, mentorship and the resources needed to develop and improve their innovative housing supply solutions.

This current Advisory Committee is made up of a diverse group of 13 advisors with extensive experience on key issues facing our communities, such as tackling homelessness, accessing and maintaining rental and ownership housing, breaking down barriers to social inclusion, delivering housing solutions to Indigenous communities, and responding to the unique needs of big cities and smaller rural and remote communities.

The Advisory Committee provides high-level advice to guide the development of program activities, support partnership building and outreach, provide input into program design and resources, and act as ambassadors for the Support Program. Representing a broad spectrum of housing stakeholders from across Canada, the Advisors bring a variety of important networks and perspectives to the table, Their valuable contributions are key ingredients in the success of the Housing Supply Challenge Support Program and its applicants.

Recruitment and support of the advisory committee was made possible with the assistance of Dina Graser, Senior Project advisor, Evergreen, and Sean Gadon, Special Housing Advisor, Evergreen & former Director, Affordable Housing Office, City of Toronto.

Brittney Bessette
Community Advocate

I have lived in the North my whole life. I come from a very big family, with 20 people in total, and grew up playing hockey. I have a big voice when it comes to community problems, and a widespread love for helping out others in my community.

Mary Cameron
President, Yukon Housing Corporation

Ms. Cameron began her public service career in Yukon in 2013 when she moved to the Yukon Housing Corporation where she was the director of community partnering and lending before becoming the vice-president of corporate services in 2016, and recently this last year April 2020, took over as President. Ms. Cameron is a two-time recipient of the Yukon Premier’s Award of Excellence. In 2015 she led the development and implementation of the 10-year Housing Action Plan for Yukon. In 2018 she co-chaired and chaired the Federal/Provincial/ Territorial Housing Forum that led to the endorsement of the Housing Partnership Framework (Multi-lateral agreement) under   the National Housing Strategy. The latter of these awards also was recognized by the Institute of Public Administration (IPAC) and led to the receipt of the 2019 Bronze Award for Public Sector Excellence

Julia Christensen
Research Chair & Associate Professor, Memorial University

Dr. Julia Christensen is a Canada Research Chair in Northern Governance and Public Policy at Memorial University and Associate Professor in the Department of Geography. Dr. Christensen is also Project Director of At Home in the North, a CMHC-funded partnership that includes northern and Indigenous communities, community- and university-based researchers, and northern governments, NGOs and private sector organizations who work collectively and collaboratively to address northern housing needs. Dr. Christensen has published extensively on homelessness, housing and the social determinants of health in the Canadian North, including the books Indigenous Homelessness (2016), No Home in a Homeland (2017), and the forthcoming Housing and Social Policy in the Urban North.

Stephen Crocker
Facilitator, Indigenous Works

Throughout Stephen’s career he has worked with Indigenous people from many different perspectives. He taught school in isolated First Nation communities in Northern Ontario and Manitoba, managed a nonprofit employment agency that provided temporary casual employment opportunities to Indigenous people living in the inner city of Edmonton.

Stephen volunteered as a Director with Indigenous Works for many years and chaired the finance committee. Since stepping down as a Director, Stephen has completed a number of contract assignments with Indigenous Works including facilitation of Indigenous Relations workshops to industry. Recently Stephen oversaw a major Indigenous Works project that was assisting disengaged industry sectors to connect with Indigenous organizations in four provinces. He now semi-retired and works independently assisting corporations and Indigenous groups with engagement and relationship building initiatives.

Danielle Feidler
Senior Vice President, Tridel

Tridel is the largest builder of sustainable condominiums in Canada, creating energy-efficient, healthy places to live which includes making our communities inclusive and accessible for everyone.

Danielle Feidler is the Senior Vice President of Brand Experience and Chair of the People & Culture at Tridel. Her portfolio includes Design Services, Warranty and Home Orientation, Talent Development, Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Relations. She is responsible for: building a high-performance culture and ‘best place to work’; delivering unmatched customer experiences; and fostering sustainable communities while maintaining and enhancing Tridel’s brand reputation.

Renée Hébert
Program Manager, Community Housing Transformation Centre

Renée is a Program Manager with the Community Housing Transformation Centre. Prior to this position she held several positions within the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, first with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Moncton and the last 14 years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. Renée also volunteers for Imagine Canada, initially as a peer reviewer and currently as a member of the Imagine Canada Standards Council. Renée holds a degree in child study from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and lives in Moncton, NB. She is fluently bilingual.

James Hughes
President & CEO, Old Mission Brewery

James Hughes has dedicated his career to the non-profit and social services sectors playing a pivotal role in championing social inclusion and helping to reduce poverty and end chronic homelessness in Canada.

As the Old Brewery Mission’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Hughes is stewarding the Mission’s vision to see the end of chronic homelessness in our lifetime. Under his watch as Director General from 2004 until 2008, the Mission shifted from managing homelessness to focusing on reducing homelessness permanently through long-term solutions. He is co-chair of the Canadian Shelter Transformation Network, an author, and is the editor of Beyond Shelters: Solutions to Homelessness in Canada from the Front Lines.

Jonah Letovsky 
Development Manager, Westbank

Jonah is an experienced real estate development & urban policy professional passionate about building more equitable and sustainable cities. Over the past 5 years as a development manager with Westbank, he has managed the development of 4 major mixed used projects in Toronto and Vancouver, consisting of ~7,500 rental residential units and 500,000+ sf of office and retail at a combined value of approximately $5 billion.

Jonah is also Westbank’s internal lead on Creative Housing, an innovative new development model to deliver workforce affordable rental housing at scale in Canada and the United States. Previously, Jonah worked as an analyst on urban economic initiatives with Richard Florida at the Martin Prosperity Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in political science and urban studies from the University of Toronto.

Sheldon Pollett
Executive Director, Choices for Youth

Sheldon Pollett has been the Executive Director of Choices for Youth since 2001. During his tenure, the organization has become a national leader and partner in identifying best practices in the design and delivery of services to youth, including social enterprise. Sheldon is the former co-chair of the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness and is a past (founding) Board member of A Way Home Canada – A National Coalition to End Youth Homelessness. He is also a member of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

Sheldon is the current Chair of the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Addictions, a past vice-Chair of End Homelessness St. John’s, and a past member of the Centre for Social Enterprise Advisory Committee at Memorial University.

Sharon Redsky
Principal, Redsky Fundraising

Sharon Redsky is resident of Winnipeg and First Nation member of Shoal Lake #40. She is the principal of Redsky Fundraising and has extensive experience working with Indigenous-led organizations.

Previously she was employed as a Strategic Partnership Coordinator for the Dakota Ojibway Child & Family Services, and as the fund developer at the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. Sharon served as a board member from 2014-2019 with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, a national movement of individuals, organizations and communities working together to end homelessness in Canada. She served on the Advisory Committee on Homelessness. Sharon was awarded the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction, Community Champion Award in 2017. Her recent education includes a Master Certificate in Project Management and Certificate in Indigenous Evaluation through the University of Winnipeg. She draws on her experience in the areas of fundraising, strategic development, networking with key stakeholders and building partnerships across diverse communities.

Mylene Riva
Professor, McGill University

Prof. Mylene Riva is Assistant professor at McGill University, jointly appointed to the Institute for Health and Social Policy and Department of Geography. She holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Housing, Community and Health. She leads an applied research program that spans health geography and population health to understand housing and community conditions as structural determinants of health and as settings for intervention to promote health and well-being for Inuit, First Nations, urban and rural dwellers. She is committed to working with communities, organizations, and governments to provide rigorous scientific evidence that can be used to inform practice and policy.

Rodney Small
Acting Director, ONE North End Community Economic Development Society

Rodney is a father, change-maker, community builder/connector, mentor, coach, and social entrepreneur. Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Rodney has established a passion for both its people and communities, working hard to help ensure those individuals and organizations thrive and grow. As a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Bachelor of Management (with Integrity) program focusing on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Rodney uses his skills and expertise to engage people in a meaningful way to identify how to deal with social, cultural, and environmental issues that have affected their communities, focusing on African Nova Scotian communities. Rodney’s passion for the African Nova Scotian (ANS) community inspires his work, as it is here where he has developed many of the values and beliefs ingrained in his efforts today. Mr. Small is currently the executive director of the One North End Community Economic Development Society. A non-profit organization located in the North End of Halifax aimed at off-setting gentrification and bringing the community together as ONE (One North End), where the vision is in the name.

Keisha St Louis-McBurnie
Urban planner and researcher

Keisha is an urban planner and researcher based in Toronto dedicated to advancing alternative, value-driven models for affordable housing, community economic development and community wealth building.

Born and raised in co-operative housing, she holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Urban Studies and a Master of Science in Planning, both from the University of Toronto. In 2019 and 2020, respectively, Keisha was awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s (CGS-M) by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) by the University to undertake research that explores how Canada’s co-operative housing sector has grown in the age of the National Housing Strategy.

She currently sits on the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI)’s Anti-Black Racism in Planning Task Force and is also the recipient of a Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) President’s Award for being a graduate student who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the future of the planning profession.

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