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(Text on screen: Frank French is the Housing Manager for Chippewas of the Thames. Here is his story...)
(Visual: Photograph of Frank French in his office smiling.)

(Text on screen: He took the Housing Manager Program through Vancouver Island University and CMHC)
(Visual: Photograph of Frank standing in the front yard of a home in his community)

(Text on screen : “It was so valuable. I would recommend anybody take a course like this” - Frank French)
(Visual: Photograph of Frank sitting on the corner of his desk in his office. His colleagues can be seen working in the background.)

(Text on screen: “It’s not a small job, housing. You have that experience and get the knowledge” - Frank French)
(Visual: Photograph of Frank sitting at the end of a long table. The table has many stacks of paper. Frank is holding and reading a document.)

(Text on screen: “I learned about the importance of communicating with your staff, your Councillors, your Band members” - Frank French)
(Visual: Photograph of Frank standing alongside a colleague outside a home in his community. He is pointing towards the side of house indicating he is explaining something to his colleague.)

(Text on screen: “Everybody was right into the program. We learned by interacting.” - Frank French)
(Visual: Photograph of Frank with two colleagues working together at a large office desk.)

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August 31, 2018

Housing manager courses meet growing demand

“It’s not a small job, housing,” says Frank French, the housing manager for Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. He assumed his new role in 2016, and shortly after he enrolled in Vancouver Island University’s Housing Manager Program.

Offered online, the program provides the foundations for a career in housing. For students like Frank with on-the-job experience, it can become an opportunity to review their department’s effectiveness.

“You really get a chance to rethink yourself and rethink the program,” he explains. “There are so many variables and so much uncertainty in housing.”

There are several programs for First Nation housing management across the country. In addition to Vancouver Island University’s online option, there’s a classroom program offered by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and an online program offered by CEGEP-Garneau in Quebec City. Each provides the opportunity to learn new approaches and strategies, network with other communities and compare best practices.

Starting this fall, CMHC will be supporting students through these programs.

Frank sees the benefit to both the online and in-person course options. He loved the convenience of completing the course from home, and he was still connected to his class.

“Everybody was right into it online, on the message boards and in the discussions,” he says.

He also explains that the housing assistant in his department is considering the in-person course option.

“If you do it in the classroom,” he continues, “you’re going to get a lot out of it because you’re in that setting and you’re working with colleagues.”

Both types of programs include courses in administration, finance, construction, renovations and interpersonal communications. Frank found the communications section particularly useful.

“I learned about the importance of communicating with your staff, your Councillors, and your Band members,” he says. “We’ve had Band members call us up and say, ‘We had no idea all of the things Housing was involved in.’”

Frank believes the programs play a key role in helping communities meet the growing demand for housing management skills.

“It was so valuable,” he says. “I would recommend anybody take a course like this.”

For more information on First Nation housing management programs, contact your regional First Nation Housing Specialist.

See also Historic graduation for First Nation housing managers