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Annual Report 2020-21

Jun 30, 2021 | News

The Antigonish Affordable Housing Society has released it 2020-21 Annual Report (pdf).

Message from the Chair

AAHS began 2020-2021 with great expectations. We were reviewing and learning from our success in opening and operating Riverside Estates for a year and decided to launch our new Appleseed Dr. building initiative. Then, like everyone else we, we were hit with the reality and challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and had to rethink the way we operate and how we would move forward toward our vision.

Our model of supportive housing with our Community Navigator enabled us to immediately assess and support tenants who were facing challenges due to the pandemic. With funds received from the United Way, Pictou Co., we were able to buy cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, masks and bus passes for tenants, to ease some of the financial burden they were facing.
The Community Room is equipped with a large monitor which was purchased by the tenants. This allowed us to hold a blended model of meetings, with some people joining on-line and some social distancing in the Community Room. We also managed to have a very successful strategic thinking and planning session in-person at the Legion, while following appropriate social distancing guidelines.

We faced a significant drop in fundraising since we were unable to hold our regular events. We held a successful online auction for one of the stained-glass windows from Bethany. To help address the shortfall in fundraising, we were able to access some federal and provincial funding to cover a portion of our operating and Community Navigator costs.
Three areas of focus for us this year was on the Appleseed Dr. building initiative, the internal working of the society, and reflection and learning from our experience.
As has been the case in the past, we received immediate financial support from the Sisters of St. Martha, the Town of Antigonish, and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, who also donated the land for this building initiative. We have also been working very closely with Housing Nova Scotia and the CMHC: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to help finance this project. The tender was awarded to Fowler Construction of Truro in September 2020.

Our strategic thinking and planning session together helped us reaffirm our vision and plan for the future. A significant amount of time was spent reviewing and changing our internal operating documents. This process has helped us to reflect, learn and strengthen our organization, putting us in good stead as we move forward.
Building community is very much part of our mission, and we have done this by listening, reflecting and learning from our relationship with the tenants of Riverside Estates. It is rewarding to see the Tenant Advisory Group coming together as a group and taking on initiatives to enhance the community’s wellbeing.

Over this past year we have shared our learnings and model with many other community organizations individually as well as in conferences and workshops. Networking with other groups at the national, provincial, and regional levels has expanded and increased our knowledge of the issues in the community housing sector, and of available opportunities.

Working through this pandemic has provided many challenges and opportunities for AAHS. We have successfully met these challenges and taken advantage of opportunities through the countless hours board members dedicate to this society. The openness and willingness of the tenants to work with the board to build community has been remarkable, as has the countless hours the Community Navigator spent supporting the tenants to live well. Thank you to all for what you have done and continue to do for AAHS.

AAHS Board Chair

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