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News Release: Vancouver Island organizations receive affordable housing kudos

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Umbrella Society for Mental Health and Addictions and Kaye Melliship of Greater Victoria Housing Society win annual BCNPHA awards at the Housing Central Conference

Vancouver, BC (Nov. 18, 2019) – BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) is pleased to announce the recipients of our annual awards, celebrating the achievements of individuals and organizations in the non-profit housing sector. The award recipients were honoured last night at the Housing Central Conference, which continues in downtown Vancouver until Tuesday, Nov. 19.

The awards recognize groundbreaking work furthering the cause of affordable housing in B.C., inspiring others in the sector and helping to build community support for a safe, secure and affordable home for everyone. The 2019 recipients of the BCNPHA awards are:

Kaye Melliship, Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS), received the Denise LeBlond Lifetime Achievement Award for her 30-plus years advocating for affordable housing. A founding member of BCNPHA, Melliship has been instrumental in advancing non-profit housing in Victoria and throughout B.C. She has led GVHS for nearly 15 years, pursuing expansion and redevelopment of existing affordable housing and adding to their portfolio with new projects serving low-income families, seniors and individuals in the capital region.

The Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health was honoured with the Housing Provider of the Year Award for their work in offering secure, affordable housing for people struggling with substance use issues. The society operates three recovery houses, providing support and programs for residents for as long as they need it.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was recognized as the Affordable Housing Champion for her ongoing efforts to tackle the housing affordability and homelessness crisis in Victoria. First elected in 2014, Helps has collaborated with senior levels of government, local organizations and residents throughout Victoria to bring new affordable housing to the city, and has championed innovative policies that support innovative housing solutions.

The FortisBC Energy Conservation Leader Award was given to Canadian Mental Health Association – Kootenays Branch. The organization has implemented energy-efficiency initiatives in 10 of its buildings that have significantly lowered their greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our members work incredibly hard, every day, to deliver safe and affordable housing throughout B.C.,” said Jill Atkey, CEO of BCNPHA. “They are on the frontlines of tackling the housing and homelessness crisis, collaborating on innovative solutions for our sector. We couldn’t be prouder of the work they do, and we are so pleased to recognize those who have gone above and beyond to further the cause of affordable housing.”


The 27th annual Housing Central Conference, Canada’s largest affordable housing conference, draws more than 1,500 stakeholders to learn from today’s thought leaders and decision-makers and to collaborate on solutions to homelessness and housing affordability, Indigenous housing, the opioid epidemic and more. It is presented by BCNPHA in partnership with the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA).


For more information or to connect with an award recipient, please contact Dean Pogas, Director of Communications, at 604-363-6590 or

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