Key Learning’s – Hannah

27 07 2009

By: Hannah Kim

Over the last six weeks, the most valuable lessons that I have learned come from the various community stakeholders I have spoken to about the homelessness issue in the Tri-Cities as well as my team’s giving circle model of funding supported housing. Taking all of their feedback together, the biggest lesson of all would be that developing, testing, and implementing a social innovation that addresses the needs and concerns of all of these community groups is a task that takes time, perseverance, and conviction in the solution.

Here are the comments and questions that I will take to heart the most in order to improve our model.

Peter Kobayashi, Port Coquitlam Branch Manager, G&F Financial Group:

  • Decide on who will actually be taking out the mortgage from a bank. Will it be the foundation or the group of investors?
  • Prepare a budget for the program to show its viability

Linda Reimer, Councillor, City of Coquitlam:

  • Participation of provincial and federal governments is needed at some point, since housing is in their jurisdiction (in terms of funding)
  • Consider a more permanent housing for homeless clients than a 6 – 12 month period

Erin Ireland, REACH Program Coordinator, Buxton Consulting:

  • Get homeless clients involved in repairing and refurbishing the supported housing units
  • Hiring the homeless to paint/repair/refurbish the supported housing units is an incentive for them to participate in the program as tenants

Ian Duke, VP of Corporate Development, Onni Group of Companies:

  • Exit strategy for investors may be tough
  • Best approach may be to focus more on the philanthropic (with charitable status) approach than the pure investment/return model. A charitable fund that acquires and manages housing units for the purposes of providing homes for the homeless. Donations could be made anonymously or on a named basis. This deviates from the ‘giving circle’ model you’ve outlined, but helps to obviate the need for a profitable exit strategy.
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