In 1992, consultations took place across the province with the grass-roots members of organizations that serve First Nations, Métis and Inuit People not living on reserve lands to determine the need for affordable, adequate and suitable housing for low and moderate income families and individuals.
A steering committee was formed consisting of Ministry of Housing personnel and two representatives from each organization. On September 1, 1994, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Support Services Corporation was incorporated with two representatives from each organization forming the Board of Directors. Those organizations today consist of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC), the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO).
WHAT WE DO
Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services is a corporation with a mandate to provide safe and affordable housing to urban and rural First Nation, Inuit and Métis people living off-Reserve in Ontario. Our vision is to lead the design, development and delivery of a sustainable and culturally appropriate continuum of housing that promotes excellence in the community and organizational infrastructures.
How do we do it? Read our Corporate Profile
- Aboriginal – includes ‘identity’, ‘world view’, ‘sense of belonging’, ‘connection to land’, ‘ways of knowing’, ‘culture’ – in everyday good living and traditional practices
- Environmental Stewardship
- Social economy and returns
- Life cycle fit (housing requirement based on age and stage)
- Inclusivity – includes issues of geography, gender, etc.
- Commitment to excellence
- Promotion of health and well being
- Self-determination in housing
- Community empowerment through skills enhancement and transfer
OAHS Strategic Plan consists of a limited number of ‘goals’ developed under the direction of the Board of Directors with full consideration of values and real perceived barriers and opportunities. Each goal is supported by an internal strategy that describes (at a high level) how the goal will be achieved and the measures used to track progress to completion.
Goal 1: Establish policy based on community need for long-term development and delivery of urban and rural housing and related services.
Goal 2: Achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Goal 3: Address gaps and ensure culturally appropriate, responsible integration of services within the housing continuum.
Goal 4: Ensure excellence in the provision of housing to the Aboriginal community.
As OAHS builds on successes and plans for continued growth and development, we recognize and value the leadership, effective relationships and hard work that give foundation to the Strategic Plan and place us in a position to capitalize on future opportunities.
Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) Board of Directors is comprised of representatives appointed by our Director Member Organizations, the: Métis Nation of Ontario, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and Ontario Native Women’s Association. The by-laws of the Corporation allow for additional members in a number of classes.
Corporate offices are located as follows:
Head Office/Northeastern Ontario Office – 500 Bay Street, Sault Ste. Marie
Northwestern Ontario Office – 24 Duke Street, Dryden
Southeastern Ontario Office – 254 Brock Street, Peterborough
Southwestern Ontario Office(s) – 343 Richmond Street, London and 42 Mary Street, Hamilton
The Corporation operates within the guidelines of its legal contracts, current legislation and within the policy established by the Board of Directors. An external Auditor is appointed by the Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting to perform a consolidated audit. The Board of Directors has implemented an Audit Committee to be the link between the external Auditor and the Board. The committee is made up of a minimum of two individual Directors from different representative Director Member Organizations as well as two qualified, independent members from the community. This audit is performed annually and presented to the Board of Directors for their acceptance. In addition, financial statements, budgets (as required) and financial projections are presented at each Board meeting.
Over the past number of years the conclusions of all consultations specific to the community and housing have expressed the need for community ownership and control of Aboriginal housing. Allocation of funding specific to the off-Reserve Aboriginal community and appropriate targeting of those units should involve the accountable Director Member Organizations. The Board of Directors has been responsible for allocating units geographically within the province in the past and supports this type of consultation and allocation process. It has always been the desire of the Board to utilize existing expertise in the housing field with the understanding that assistance with capacity building in under serviced, high need areas of the province may be required.
Dealing with the existing housing stock is a priority. The Board strongly supports an Aboriginal specific repair program to address the communities’ existing housing stock and Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services has since received and delivered funding under the Investment in Affordable Housing program to deliver a repair program to Aboriginal off-Reserve homeowners. The wait list continues to grow to address this widespread need for safe and affordable housing.