FNHC 2023: Shaping Our Future inFirst Nations Housing
by Scott A. Sumner
The First Nations Housing Conference (FNHC) proudly returned in 2023 as it continues its legacy of excellence in improving housing in First Nations communities. From its modest beginnings in 2003, FNHC has grown to become Canada's longest running and largest conference.The FNHC has played an essential role in addressing the housing challenges faced by First Nations communities throughout Canada. The First Nations Housing Working Group is comprised of ten Tribal Council representatives leads the event in a First Nations-Led Approach. Attendees consistently praise it as one of their favorite housing events.
"The FNHC has become a platform for leaders, housing managers, and industry experts to discuss challenges, opportunities, and solutions for First Nations housing," said Saverio Rizzo, a member of the First Nations Housing Community.The three-day event featured a diverse program of workshops, training sessions, and demonstrations, along with the Community Housing Recognition Awards ceremony. These awards are an opportunity to recognize innovations and achievements in housing initiatives.
This year, FNHC recognized four recipients: Tzeachten First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, Mohawks of Bay of Quinte, Garden River First Nation & Missanabie Cree First Nation, and KZ Lodge Program.The Builders Challenge, hosted by TV handyman Jon Eakes, offered a hands-on construction experience, allowing participants to test their skills in timed construction demos. The tradeshow boasts over 45 suppliers and First Nation oriented businesses.The First Nations Housing Conference took place from October 24 to 26, 2023, at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay
.Jonathan Gregg, Committee Member working group
“ The main purpose was to kinda give some First Nations builders some resources on how to build better homes, and also provide building code updates. We want to talk about and share what is coming down in housing such as new housing materials, housing issues in First Nations, how we can access funding and share opportunities here. Over the years we have averaged been 300 to 400 delegates from all over Canada. This year our numbers were lower not for any particular reason.There is a lot of construction in our communities and many are trying to get their projects closed up before the winter.”
“ We get people who work in the industry to share their knowledge whether it be window installation for example.We kinda say it takes a community to build a house and want to encapture everyone in the industry and the government.”
“We need to build housing across Canada and I know the government is trying to work towards it. We have some First Nations that have overcrowding as when young people grow up there is no where for them to go so they stay put sometimes.Our trade show was a good opportunity for vendors to come and share what they offer.”