We're holding an election at our Annual General Meeting on Sunday, November 18, to fill six seats on our board and two positions on our Finance Committee. Nomination forms will be accepted until November 12, 2018 at 4:30 pm. Please see all the candidate profiles below.
Can't decide who to vote for? Ask questions of candidates on CHF BC's Twitter feed @chfbc.Derek Andrews – Four Sisters | Rejoice Anthony – First Avenue Athletes Village | Jon Breisnes – Pacific Heights | Gabe Dennis – Access | Alex Deyneko – Avalon | Larisa Gorodetsky – Granville Gardens | Jarrett Hagglund – Emma G | David Hiebert – Le Coeur | Cassia Kantrow – Pace Accounting | Patricia Mahecha – Post 83 | Jared Melvin – Pheasant Meadows | Corinne Overbeck – Lang Cove | Lilian Seow – Crossroads | Suzann Zimmering – The Manor
My name is Derek Andrews, I grew up in Ontario and Arctic Canada and have called Vancouver home since 1995.
I have lived at Four Sisters Co-op since 2001 and I credit the co-op with being my true reason for remaining in this very beautiful but pricey city.
I have served on our board for 7 of the past 9 years; initially as a director, then as President and presently I am Vice President. I love the thought of giving back to my co-op through volunteering and it certainly helps that we have a true sense of community amongst our members. I am also involved with our Retrofit committee as we steer our buildings through what is now over 4 years of renegotiating our land lease, dealing with production managers and now, finally, seeing some results that will keep our buildings safe and comfortable for another 30 years or so.
In conclusion, I feel the work of our CHF-BC community is essential to our members and to the province at large as we are all working towards providing safe, affordable, livable housing for the people we come to regard as family now.
I have lived at First Avenue Athletes Village Cooperative Housing home for six years.
Currently I serve on the Events Committee and Crew 72 (Disaster Preparedness Committee). In the last four years, I have been my co-op’s delegate to CHF BC and CHF Canada AGM’s.
Established in 2011, Athletes Village was the first co-op built in British Columbia in more than 20 years. Cooperative housing is the answer to our housing crisis; due to lack of available and affordable housing for low to upper-middle income earners, in all the major cities across Canada. I am running for CHFBC’s board because I believe in collaborative, community and relationship building as a model for an inclusive society. I am passionate about housing as a human right, becoming the reality for every British Columbian and Canadian. Professionally speaking as an Employment Counsellor who’s worked in the social service for last 20 years, I know the impact of lack of adequate housing has on people’s capacity to find and maintain employment.
I’m eager to join CHF BC’s board moving forward in building new co-op homes. Finding ways of working collaboratively with other housing providers and levels of government. With the challenges the board is facing of ensuring existing homes are protected and fair land lease negotiations, it is imperative to have board members who are passionate about diversity, inclusion of all people while responsibly managing our assets. You can reach out to Rejoice at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram at auntieesichats.
I entered the world of co-op housing five years ago when my young family and I were lucky enough to join Pacific Heights Housing Co-operative.
I soon became a full-time at-home dad, and I ran for a spot on the PHHC Board of Directors both to gain adult time and to learn more about co-operatives. I was named President of the Board in my first year, and it was an excellent and instant educational opportunity. I served as President for four terms and tackled many key issues facing co-ops today: we successfully appealed property tax assessments that had climbed 250% over a four-year period, and we worked relentlessly to build relationships with city staff in hopes of negotiating a new land lease soon. I have developed a true passion for co-op housing–not only my own home, but the co-op sector as a whole.
I believe that it is integral to the future of co-op housing not only to expand, but also to protect existing homes and get the necessary lease extensions dealt with as soon as possible. It would be an honour to serve on the CHF-BC board and help us all work towards these goals.
The major issues facing our sector are embracing and celebrating diversity, constantly improving government relations, innovative education for members, communication, inclusion, and reconciliation.
Looking forward into the immediate future we will see the impact of the National Housing Strategy, co-ops in Vancouver on leased land, and most important for the long-term: growing our brand identity as a sector. Co-ops provide an attractive alternative to other, and more dominant, housing models. The number one question young people ask me is “how do I get into one?” However, too few ask “how do I start one?” Building more co-ops is good for the sector, and good for everyone. It can be done – look at the work we are already doing after years of stagnation.
In my personal, professional, and co-op life I have earned a reputation for critical thinking, trusted ethical approaches to solutions, driving social justice, speaking up for what is right and challenging the status quo.
As father of four young children, Alex is a family man through and through.
He has lived in Avalon Co-op for the past 10 years, and has served two terms as Director, and one as Treasurer of the Board at Avalon. The experience of raising his family in a co-op setting has impressed on Alex the value of these incredible micro-communities in greater Vancouver. As a first generation immigrant, Alex harbors a deep appreciation for the career and social opportunities that Canada provides. The experience of immigration as an adult has also taught him the importance of flexibility, finding creative solutions and adjusting to circumstance. Professionally, Alex has worked as an electronics engineer for a number of high-tech companies over the past twenty years, bringing a skill-set of innovation and critical thinking to the table.
By running for board membership with CHF BC, Alex aims to contribute the vast experience and skill set he has gained through immigration, family life, board leadership and professional work, to organize life at a higher level of co-operation across all of the co-ops in Greater Vancouver.
As a second generation Co-op member at Granville Gardens Housing Co-op, Larisa is fortunate to now be raising her baby girl in the community she herself grew up in.
Larisa is a mentoring legacy CPA, CMA (Certified Management Accountant). She graduated with distinction from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a focus on Accounting .
Being the Treasurer for CHF BC for the past 4 years and having lived in a housing co-op for over 20 years, Larisa realizes that we are entering a critical state of an affordable housing crisis. Being able to raise a small family of 3 while being fortunate to have a community around her demonstrates the importance of preserving our current co-operative values.
Serving on the Board and seeking re-election, Larisa’s key focus is representing CHF BC’s members under a newly formed governance framework, which will be implemented for the first time in the upcoming year. Larisa is passionate in advocating for the preservation of the current co-op housing stock, which will maintain a strong foundation to facilitate growth within the housing co-op sector.
When asked: “How do you do it?”
The answer is simple: “I eat challenges for breakfast”
Jarrett feels fortunate to have lived in and been an active member of Emma G. Housing Co-op for the past 7 years.
He currently lives with his husband Zach and their feline friend, Gilbert. Co-op living has provided them safe, stable and affordable housing. It has also given them the opportunity to live in a close-knit community with neighbours they can’t imagine living without. Since joining the co-op Jarrett has held the positions of: Secretary, Treasurer and is currently serving his 3rd year as President.
Professionally Jarrett has worked for the BC NDP during the last two Provincial Election campaigns and for a variety of lower mainland BC NDP MLAs. His work with MLAs has included community outreach and helping citizens access government services. He currently works as an Events Manager for the Government of BC Communications and Public Engagement department.
Jarrett hopes to bring his community organizing and political experience to the CHF BC Board. He wants to continue the work of advocating to all levels of government to support co-op housing: by adding more units, providing subsidies for existing co-ops and ensuring our current co-op housing stock remains sustainable for generations to come.
My name is David Hiebert. I’ve been an active Co-op member for over 25 years.
I’ve lived in three Co-ops, been on the board of two and chaired committees in all three. My wife and I now live in Le Coeur Housing Co-op in Vancouver. In two Co-ops my passion was the Co-op Newsletter. Reporting on Co-op news and info, cele-brating the Co-op and its families.
I’m presently the Vice-President of Champlain Heights Community Association. I Chair both the Everett Crowley Park Committee and the Program Committee. I’m a Park Steward and a co-planner of events, one being Earth Day Vancouver. Through this CHCA board and community work, I’m in contact with and am working with the Vancouver Parks Board, its commissioners, staff and planning committees.
My envisioned Co-op “progress chart” has three work in progress items: true affordable Co-op led housing, affordable day care (child and elder) and an active “aging in place” Co-op program. I enjoy working together with those who also have a heart for creating and growing Co-operative communities. I’m dedicated to living, working and enjoying the great Co-op vision.
Cassia is a life-long co-operator, relationship builder, and leader who brings different ideas and interests together to find common threads, building consensus wherever possible.
She is a collaborative, strategic thinker who values input from others, ensuring all voices are heard.
Elected to CHF BC Board of Directors in 2014, Cassia proudly served as President during 2017 and 2018. She is keen to implement a strengthened and simplified governance framework. A framework that meets the changing needs of our Members and the Federation. This is an exciting yet challenging time for our sector. As a co-operative advocating for housing co-operatives, CHF BC must continue to listen to its Members to best focus the Federation’s resources on your priorities.
Cassia brings lived experience combined with professional expertise to the board table. She is a member of Trout Lake Housing Co-op and a partner at Pace Accounting Inc., an accounting firm that works with a variety of non-profit organisations, including co-ops. Raised by avid co-operators, she lived at Grandview Housing Co-op as a child and that experience led her to seek membership in a co-op as a parent, to ensure that her son grew up with cooperative values and a sense of community.
Patricia has lived at Post 83 Coop since 2015.
She served on the Board for two years as Vice President, Secretary, and Chair of the Membership Committee. She also participated as a member of different committees at the Coop. These experiences, as well as the Education Program at CHF BC, brought her a lot of knowledge and a different perspective about building community, human rights, and inclusion.
Patricia brings her expertise and professionalism to the Board. She has been working with non-profit organizations helping refugee claimants and new immigrants to find transitional and permanent housing for more than nine years. She also has served as a member of Inland Refugee Society of BC Board of Directors since 2014 and now as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Housing Working Group, an initiative developed to find solutions to the housing crisis for this population.
She has worked with Indigenous communities implementing a wellness project for people who had experienced trauma at the Residential Schools. She also worked as Chief Executive Director for different health organizations. Patricia’s background has offered her an opportunity for experiential learning, community engagement and the application of system thinking to address social/health issues, a model that can be used into the Cooperative Housing setting to build a better place to live.
Jared Melvin has lived in Pheasant Meadows on Vancouver Island for 6 years and has been the President for past 5 years.
Jared is a committed collaborator, actively involved in his local housing co-operative, including pursuing diversity and development.
He has a 15-year career in real estate at BC Assessment where currently he works on strategic projects and initiatives. Jared remains an active member for his union, having served as Vice-President for 5 years and now in his 2nd year as President.
Jared is a believer in the unique ability that each housing co-operative has to contribute to the greater good and their undervalued contribution during this affordable housing crisis. To this end, he has co-written strategy proposals (see www.affordableBC.ca) about how to tackle this crisis and has been an active participant in the CMHC subsidy and co-op’s engagement process, having spent time in July in Ottawa with them and other relevant stakeholders.
If you are looking for a candidate who has the best interests of all housing co-operatives at heart, experience and skills to execute on a sound strategic plan and unwavering passion for excellence, then Jared Melvin is that candidate.
I am an independent consultant with over 30 years of experience in building design and construction management.
Since 2006, I have been actively involved in sustainability design and construction for mixed-use developments. I have a keen interest in advancing the development of quality co-op housing and programs as a national priority.
I have been a member of two housing co-operatives in Vancouver since 2008. I have discovered that co-operative housing is a learning hub to develop life and work skills in a diverse community. The challenges I have experienced living in housing co-operatives have changed me in so many ways and they continue to inspire me to becoming more aware of my civic responsibility.
My continuing education and the ability to be curious have taught me to embrace challenges as opportunities for making better and meaningful choices. One of my greatest strengths that I bring to overcome challenges is the ability to anticipate the impacts of decisions.
I am committed to making a difference by boosting equality, diversity and sustainability in the development of co-op housing. I am ready to embark on an incredible journey with the CHF BC board to spearhead initiatives for co-operative housing as a real solution to a sustainable society.
Little did Suzann Zimmering know that a notice of rent increase slipped under her door in 1979 would lead to a commitment and career in cooperative and affordable housing.
A founding member of her co-op, Suzann became BC’s volunteer organizer of a national campaign to save the federal Cooperative housing program in the early 80s. Recognizing the importance of good management and of protecting our stock, Suzann was a director of COHO for 8 years and a founding trustee and President of the Community Housing Land Trust Foundation. She has served as BC’s regional director of CHF Canada and as director and treasurer of CHF BC. Suzann is also a certified instructor for both organizations. CHF BC recognized her contributions with the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award.
After more than 10 years work in the development of cooperative and non-profit housing, Suzann turned to the management side becoming General Manager of Terra Property Management and supported both housing cooperatives and non-profits for more than 16 years until her retirement in 2014.
With my renewed energy, I want to strongly support increasing the number of housing cooperatives and protecting what we have with strong governance, good management, and continued community development. I hope to bring my experience to the CHF BC board for a thriving future for housing cooperatives and their members.