At the CRRHH, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a variety of renowned speakers on a variety of engaging topics pertaining to housing and rural homelessness. Due to the complex and intersectional nature of the social, economic and environmental issues relating to these subjects, the ARDN has included speakers with a diverse array of disciplines, fields and areas of expertise.

Speakers:

Wednesday, October 24

Derek Ballantyne

Board Chair, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Speaker Bio:

Mr. Derek Ballantyne brings extensive experience in the development and management of housing, as well as the development of financial models for housing development and operations and innovative approaches to attract new sources of capital to housing.

With more than 20 years of experience in the management of large and mid-size housing organizations, he brings broad knowledge of the complex public and private environments and a comprehensive knowledge of housing, real estate management and development sectors. He also brings deep knowledge of the non-profit, charitable, social entrepreneurship, cooperative and foundation sectors at the local, provincial and federal levels.

Mr. Ballantyne was Chief Operating Officer of Build Toronto, where he assisted in the establishment of the corporation, development of the first business plan, and execution of several large transactions and development initiatives. He also served as Chief Executive Officer of Toronto Community Housing, a large rental housing provider, with over $6 billion in real estate assets in Toronto. He led organizational and financial restructuring of the company, and the recapitalization and redevelopment of a significant portion of the portfolio (including the Regent Park community) as well as the commercialization of non-core functions. He is currently CEO for Encasa Financial Inc., a multi-fund provider and a partner in New Market Funds, an innovative platform that develops and manages impact investment products.

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Dr. Alina Turner

Keynote: The State of Rural and Remote Homelessness: What We Know and Where We’re Going

While significant attention to homelessness in Canada has resulted in major policy shifts and funding investments in recent years, little is understood about the phenomenon in smaller communities across the country. Yet, rural and remote homelessness is not only pervasive, but has existed for significant periods in our history.

This presentation will present an overview of rural and remote homelessness within a broader global and historical narrative on migration and social stratification. Particular focus will be given to emerging promising directions to address the issue at a community and systems level.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Alina Turner is recognized as a leading researcher and thinker on social issues with proven implementation results. Her work on system planning is recognized as a leading practice and often called upon as a model across communities. Her drive and passion for this work is grounded in her lived experience of the social issues she continues to challenge in her professional work. She has also conducted with colleagues some of the only available academic research on rural homelessness and Housing First programs that currently exists in Canada.

Alina is a Fellow at The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary and serves on HomeSpace's Board of Directors as Chair of the Governance Committee. She recently joined the Alberta Rural Development Network Rural Advisory Board on housing and homelessness. She has worked at an executive leadership level at both management and board of directors levels for the past 10 years. During her tenure as VP Strategy at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, Alina led the implementation of Canada’s first Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) and designed Calgary’s Housing First System of Care. She oversaw $35 million in annual investments across 40 programs in Calgary, their performance management and quality assurance. Prior to this, Alina worked at the Poverty Reduction Initiative of the United Way of Calgary & Area, and a variety of front-line immigrant and homeless-serving agencies.

She is recently completed the Provincial Point-in-Time Count Coordinator for Alberta, the Kelowna Plan to End Homelessness, and a number of system planning capacity building activities across Canadian communities.

Thursday, October 25

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Tenille Thomson

Manager of Social Development, City of Saskatoon

Speaker Bio:

Tenille Thomson is a Scottish-Métis woman currently living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Born and raised on the west side of the city, her life experience and 20 years working in the non-profit sector drives her passion to integrate a social justice lens in her work with Indigenous communities and populations, youth, and the homeless.

As a mother to four children from the Fishing Lake First Nation (Treaty 4 territory), her first priority is her children, as they motivate her to work harder so they can live in a better community. In her career, she has coordinated and managed local and national projects for youth engagement and community development. Tenille holds a BA in Indigenous studies, a Bachelor of Indian Social work at the First Nations University of Canada, and recently completed a Masters in Public Administration with the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan.

From 2014 to 2018, Tenille worked for Provincial Metis Housing Corporation administering the non-designated Homelessness Partnering Strategy funding stream for Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan. Tenille recently accepted a new position with the City of Saskatoon as the Manager of Social Development.

Arlene Hache

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Program Developer, Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group

Speaker Bio:

Arlene Hache is a grassroots woman who has experienced homelessness and the traumatic impacts of childhood and youth violence. She is well known across Canada’s Arctic as an advocate for social change. As a result of her work, she was awarded the Order of Canada in 2009 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. 

Arlene founded the Centre for Northern Families, an urban-based family resource centre in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories that supported marginalized women and their families, the majority of which were Indigenous, leading the organization as its Executive Director for 25 years. Under her leadership, the Centre established a broad range of services including an emergency shelter for women who were homeless, a poverty law program, childcare services, assessment and case management services and third-party intervention and child supervision services for families impacted by violence. She designed a family support model to counter colonial and racist practices of the child welfare system that continues to apprehend Indigenous children today at an alarming rate. It was accompanied by a training curriculum that helped families strengthen and negotiate internal and external interpersonal relationships in a way that promotes healthy interdependence. Arlene also co-developed and co-managed a gender-specific trauma recovery program for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women who were impacted by colonization, systemic oppression, and extreme levels of violence.

Arlene is currently works as a Program Developer with the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group and provides technical support to the District of Temiskaming Elders Council. She is a published author and has participated on several research teams that gives voice to people with lived experience of homelessness. She serves as a Director on several national Canadian boards addressing issues related to both mental health and homelessness, including the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, the NWT Status of Women Council, and the Governing Council of the Huairou Commission, a global coalition empowering grassroots women leaders in development and policy-making around the world. Arlene was also part of the national Advisory Committee on Homelessness chaired by the Honourable Adam Vaughan that worked on redesigning the federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

Friday, October 26

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Ruben Nelson

Executive Director, Foresight Canada

Speaker Bio:

Ruben Nelson is an explorer and pioneer.  He has spent his life exploring and seeking to understand the forces that are now re-shaping our lives, our world and our future.  Today, he is widely-recognized as a Canadian pioneer of serious futures research and its application in strategic foresight. 

A major focus of Ruben’s work is on the leadership and institutional support systems we require in order to realize our dream of making this world a better place, especially for marginalized persons and communities. 

Ruben was born and raised in Calgary.  Ruben is a graduate of Queen’s University and Queen’s Theological College in Kingston, Canada.  He has also studied at United Theological College, Bangalore, India. 

Ruben Is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, the World Business Academy and the Meridian Institute on Leadership, Governance, Change and the Future.  He is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists, the World Futures Studies Federation, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science and Ralph Connor Memorial United Church in Canmore.

Ruben lives in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta with his wife of 57 years and their three cats.  He and Heather have two grown children.