More for members in 2016! - December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays!

At CHF BC, we can't wait to unwrap the exciting line-up of events for members in 2016.  See below for just some of what's to come. Watch for a longer list of winter events for members coming to your co-op by mail in January. In the meantime, wishing you and yours a bright and merry holiday season.

Co-ops helping co-ops with seasonal giving

As co-ops prepare for winter holidays, Mountain View Co-op in Port Moody is facing its first holiday season after a devastating fire destroyed 47 co-op homes in October. CHF BC members responded generously to the co-op's call for help and four families found new homes at co-ops in the area. Everyone else is now rehoused either in the co-op or in the neighbourhood. CHF BC members around the Lower Mainland were also generous with financial support and joined the local community providing household goods, food and gifts.

"We had an unbelievable response from the community," says Amelia Sandor, COHO coordinator at Mountain View.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, Eburne Landing Co-op in Vancouver is doing what it can to make sure the families have a happy holiday. Eburne will deliver age-appropriate gifts this week for the 44 children directly affected by the fire. Thank you to Eburne and all the co-ops that helped Mountain View through this difficult time.

Scheduled workshops for the New Year

Starting in January 2016, CHF BC will offer monthly evening scheduled workshops at its office on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. 

Co-ops are encouraged to send members to learn alongside other members. CHF BC will provide discounts of 10% if you sign up for six or more workshops, and we'll take $10 off the cost for members who have to travel more than 30 km to attend.

For members on Vancouver Island or other areas outside the Lower Mainland, let us know which workshops you're interested in: if we receive five or more requests we will do our best to arrange a webinar on that topic.

Sign up now for the workshops of your choice!

What's Happening

Upcoming Events

January 19
Membership Terminations Workshop

January 20
Island Education Evening


Record-breaking AGM generates excitement over new program, new board and new hope

A new program, a new board and new hope for members caught in the co-op housing crunch were all unveiled at a meeting that took AGMs to new heights. A record-breaking 64 delegates plus observers and guests packed the ballroom at the Executive Inn in Burnaby on November 28 for CHF BC’s Annual General Meeting.
Delegates and observers were kept buzzing with a steady flow of updates on everything from the Aging in Place Survey results, the Federation's work to help co-ops on leased land, to updates on the Refinancing and Renewal Program. Highlights that generated the most excitement were:

  • A unique new partnership with TELUS to offer co-op members HDTV, home phone and wireless Internet services at deeply reduced rates. The Co-op Telecom program with TELUS will roll out in the New Year. Watch for an information package coming to your co-op with details and how to sign up.
  • The unprecedented success of the You Hold the Key Campaign during the federal election, with co-op members across Canada coming together to "vote co-op housing." A record number of MPs who pledged to fix the co-op housing crunch were elected: 227 nationally and 32 in BC. And the newly-elected government has pledged to maintain rent-geared-to-income subsidies for low-income co-op members. 
  • A dynamic election with eight candidates competing for five vacancies on the CHF BC board. Delegates elected two new directors to the board, Thomas Robson (Lore Krill) and Charles Sandor (Ford Road) and re-elected Lorien Quattrocchi (Paloma), Eddie Sabile (Killarney Gardens), and Amanda Skillin (Delta Green). 

Departing directors Manon Bertrand (The Brambles) and Fred Silvergieter (Fraserview) were also recognized for their contributions. The Member Forum saw delegates and observers work together in an engaging brainstorming exercise to enhance services and generate revenue for the co-op housing sector using co-operative enterprise models.  

Syrian refugee crisis: co-ops want to help

The Syrian refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian disaster in recent international memory, and housing co-ops here in BC and all across Canada are asking what they
can do to help.
We can expect up to 2,500 government-assisted refugees to arrive in British Columbia between now and the end of February.  While there are systems in place to offer immediate assistance when they arrive, affordable long-term housing is in short supply and will soon become the most urgent need.
Co-ops and co-op members can help in many different ways.  For more information on this crisis, including what you can do, visit the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC).
And if you are a Vancity member, check out their information on supporting refugees.
Refugees are eligible for housing assistance equivalent to the BC Social Assistance Shelter Allowances for one year:

  • $375 for an individual
  • $570 for a couple
  • $700 for a couple and two children under 19
  • $660 for a single parent with two children under 19
  • $785 for a couple and four children under 19
  • $750 for a single parent and four children under 19

 Co-ops considering offering housing may face some issues to resolve:

  • will a refugee family live in the co-op as members or fixed-term tenants?
  • how will the co-op deal with damage deposit or share purchase requirements?
  • when will vacant rooms or units be available to receive a refugee family?

CHF BC can help by providing more information on these questions early in the new year. In the meantime, if you have space to share or housing to offer a Syrian refugee family or individual, contact ISSofBC directly to discuss what might be possible.

CHF BC part of "Co-ops in Schools" Tri-Mentorship program

CHF BC is one of three Lower Mainland co-op sponsors with four staff (from CHF BC and COHO Management) matched up to mentor post-secondary students as BC Co-operative Association (BCCA)'s 
Co-ops in Schools program. The year-long tri-mentorship program connects BC high school students, BC post-secondary students, and BC co-op and credit union professionals. The post-secondary students will learn about working life and see the co-operative model in action.

BCCA provides training in co-op basics and the post-secondary student will coach groups of high school students as they explore co-op enterprise through discussion and activities.