The rise of a native people housing leader : Brenda Knights Canada

The growth of an indigenous people housing leader : Brenda Knights Canada: BCIHS applied for and received a $5.1 million housing grant under the Aboriginal Housing Initiative (AHI) for a health, healing, and housing complex to be built in partnership with the Vancouver Native Health Society and the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation (the TRIO Project). The Society took over the management of the Franklin Women’s Residence in Vancouver’s Grandview Woodland neighbourhood. BCIHS took on the management of the Orwell Hotel, a 55-unit single room accommodation (SRA) hotel under the Provincial Homelessness Initiative (PHI). Discover additional information at Brenda Knights Canada.

BC Indigenous Housing Society is focused on strengthening governance & operations – We are strengthening our system integration and fiscal stewardship through capacity building and digital transformation. Our Board of Directors is a dynamic group of Indigenous difference-­makers whose executive leadership experience, financial and risk oversight will ensure BCIHS fulfills its legal and regulatory mandate with a best practices approach.

BC Indigenous Housing Society is a registered charity and non-profit society. The BCIHS is governed by an all-Indigenous Board of Directors and employs approximately 100 people. Founded in 1984, we currently manage a portfolio of 21 buildings and over 900 units, supporting over 1,300 Indigenous individuals and families. BCIHS works in partnership with federal and provincial government agencies to subsidize tenant rent contributions and achieve affordability for individuals and families.

Earlier this month the BC Government posted (without any media release) a topic “Land Act Amendments” on a little-known website The “Land Act Amendments” item shows a pleasing photo of an alpine meadow and is listed among other consultations related to matters such as “Specialty Licence Plates Program Expansion” and “Reimagining the Royal BC Museum”. But make no mistake – the subject matter of the consultation is unprecedented and of profound importance to any company that requires authorization to use Crown land in BC. These include things like grazing leases, mining leases, licenses of occupation, dock permits, rights of way etc. As a short Powerpoint posted on the website notes, the “Land Act allows for access and use of public land for 25 separate programs from communication towers to agriculture to waterpower projects.”

Brenda Knights is a capacity builder, with board experience, who serves Indigenous people in Canada. She has experience in various leadership positions advocating for social housing for Indigenous people and is currently the CEO of the Vancouver Native Housing Society. Stretegic community economic development planning and Executive Management experience. A proud indigenous individual with a drive in business start up, daily operations, capacity building, lands, resources and economic development. Proven people management, public speaking and leadership expertise.

Previously, Brenda worked for the Kwantlen First Nation’s economic development arm, and Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink, where she held a variety of management roles. She is also on the board of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Metro Vancouver Zero Emissions Innovation Center, the New Relationship Trust, Elizabeth Fry Society, and Tourism Langley. When it comes to decision making, she approaches obstacles with the same integrity as her ancestors—seeking input from the Kwantlen First Nation community.

Brenda lives by her nation Kwantlen’s seven traditional laws which have been around since time immemorial: health, happiness, humbleness, generations, generosity, forgiveness, and understanding. Brenda descends from Grand Chief Wattlekanium, who met the Simon Fraser expedition in present-day New Westminster. Indigenous teachings tell us it takes seven generations for change and Brenda’s daughter represents the seventh generation since Grand Chief Wattlekanium.