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News Release: Canadian Mental Health Association of the Kootenays receives affordable housing kudos at 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:

The Canadian Mental Health Association – Kootenays Branch received the FortisBC Energy Conservation Leader Award in recognition of the energy efficiency initiatives implemented across 10 of their buildings. The retrofits, which were made possible with funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, include replacements and upgrades to furnaces, hot water tanks, boilers, heat pumps and lighting that will save enough energy to power nearly 80 homes each year. In total, the 17 energy conservation projects resulted are expected to save CMHA – Kootenays more than $102,000 annually, in addition to savings from the in-suite measures delivered through the Energy Conservation Assistance Program. The organization has also implemented education encouraging staff and residents to conserve energy.

The FortisBC Energy Conservation Leader Award was created in 2018 to recognize non-profit housing providers demonstrating an exemplary commitment to reducing energy use. In B.C., the non-profit housing sector is one of the top 10 energy users in B.C.

“CMHA of the Kootenays took on a wide range of retrofit projects, from small-scale lighting upgrades to significant heating updates, that are making a big energy-saving impact,” said Ian Cullis, BCNPHA’s Director of Asset Management. “Their work is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and CMHA’s energy bills, and we’re happy to work with their team to secure grants and rebates to make these projects even more affordable.”

The following individuals and organizations also received BCNPHA awards:

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. Melliship has been instrumental in advancing non-profit housing in Victoria and throughout B.C.

The Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health, located in Victoria, 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.

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.


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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