West Vancouver – The Indigenous Social Housing Management Agreement (ISHMA) was officially signed this morning by the Aboriginal Housing Management Association’s President, Gary Wilson and Chief Executive Officer of BC Housing, Shayne Ramsay. The agreement is a foundational document for AHMA and the 41 Indigenous Housing Providers that comprise the organization. It is the second and improved version of the first Aboriginal Social Housing Management Agreement (ASHMA) that was signed in 2012. The ISHMA represents the joint commitment from AHMA and the Government of British Columbia to continue to improve and prioritize housing conditions through culturally sensitive practices for Indigenous peoples in British Columbia in urban, rural and northern regions.
“We are pleased with the agreement. The ISHMA maintains stability and growth for all of our Indigenous Housing providers and exemplifies AHMAs strong partnership with the Government of British Columbia. It will enable our members to continue to support and better serve the +5000 Indigenous Households they serve across the province.” Said Gary Wilson, President of AHMA.
The year 2004 saw the first Indigenous housing transfer agreement in Canada, when the Government of British Columbia transferred 189 units to AHMA. This transfer made British Columbia the first province in Canada to transfer management and subsidy administration of Indigenous social housing directly to an Indigenous organization. It also marked the first step toward AHMA’s goal of achieving Indigenous self-management of urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing.
In the latest renewed agreement, AHMA is confident that it aligns with the vision of its members and the direction they intend to move in. Chief Executive Officer of AHMA, Margaret Pfoh was a witness to the signing of the ISHMA and in a statement said “It’s important to note that the ISHMA was created based on the voice of our Indigenous housing providers. It adheres to the evolving needs of our members who have been at the forefront of change for Indigenous Housing in British Columbia for the past 35 years. The ISHMA supports our organization by providing access to opportunities for AHMA and our members to continue to advance and progress. Beyond the technical aspect of the ISHMA, we are looking forward to a broader protocol agreement with the Province that enhances our partnership and meets the direction of our members.”
Direction for the ISHMA include these key initiatives:
- Strengthening AHMAs Internal Capacity to accommodate for new key positions in Operations, Communications, Finance, Asset Strategies and Administration.
- Boosting our members’ Operation Budgets in order to respond to the growing needs of the sector.
- Broadening membership.
- Strengthening Technology Capacity.
- Increased transparency and accountability in managing public funding.
- Maximizing benefits for AHMA members with surplus funds.
The ISHMA ensures a more seamless delivery of housing services for all Indigenous Peoples in living in urban, rural and norther communities in BC. AHMA will host a traditional Indigenous ceremony that honours the hard work and commitment that brought us to this point, as well as to mark the signing of the ISHMA at the Membership Spring Gathering in April 2019.
Rosanna McGregor, Chair of the Good Governance Committee (AHMA) –
“The membership or Nə́c̓aʔmat Leləm̓ committee is pleased to see the ISHMA signed and look forward to the Board of Directors being able to engage with the Province of BC in a broader and more meaningful way. We look forward to the ongoing evolution of AHMA as a world leader in Indigenous housing across the province.”
Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing –
“The Province is extremely grateful to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association for the important work they do in communities across B.C.,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We look forward to continuing the exciting work we are doing with AHMA and the Indigenous housing sector to create more options and improve housing conditions for Indigenous peoples, both on- and off-reserve, throughout the province.”
Media & Communications Specialist