Thunder Bay

First Nations housing organization seeks to offer year-round support

One of the organizers of the First Nations Housing Conference in Thunder Bay, Ont., says a new group wants to continue the work of the conference throughout the year.

'Goal is to build up an online portal that would include standards, even house project plans'

The First Nations Housing Conference is a three-day event that happens once a year, noted Clarence Meekis, a member of the volunteer working group that helps organize the event. "So what do we do the rest of the year?  That was our question," he said. (firstnationshousingcommunity.com)

One of the organizers of the First Nations Housing Conference in Thunder Bay, Ont., says a new group plans to continue the work of the conference throughout the year.

The First Nations Housing Community was officially launched at the 2019 conference with the objective of sharing information, said Clarence Meekis, a member of the volunteer working group which puts on the event. 

"The goal is to build up an online portal that would include standards and even house project plans," he said. "Even to have access to expert advice, whether it's related to construction or innovative materials."

The conference is a three-day event  which happens once a year, he noted. 

"So what do we do the rest of the year?  That was our question," he said. "How can we support communities?"

Members of the conference working group, which is made up of members of tribal councils, have put together an inaugural board and incorporated the new organization, Meekis said.

Currently, the group has no funding so expanding its programming has been a slow process, he added.

"So far, engagement has been at the First Nations Housing Conference because it's a volunteer organization," Meekis said.

But the governance structure is national, he explained, so while representatives have not yet been able to do outreach to other parts of the country, it is looking for board members from other regions.

The First Nations Housing Conference continues through Thursday.