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#HumansOfCoopHousing: Lindsey encourages young leaders as pandemic highlights affordable housing crunch

Published December 16, 2020

Lindsey Reed manages Sutherland Place Co-operative Homes in Cobourg, Ontario. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted for her the importance of community supports and resources, and re-affirmed her commitment to co-op values.

Lindsey (right) at a pre-COVID co-op holiday party

I love working in co-operatives. I originally worked in Niagara Falls, helping adults with developmental disabilities and mental health complexes in transitional and supportive housing.

After relocating to London, I stumbled across a job posting for a co-ordinator at a co-op and very quickly found myself immersed in the movement. I’ve experienced a lot of professional and personal growth working in this sector.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it was challenging to transition to remote work, but our organization had already been discussing remote work as a possibility and the ideas we’d talked about helped things to go more smoothly. We looked at the reality of the situation we were in, but also at what opportunities existed to improve our practice.

I think the pandemic has shown us the need for safe and affordable housing during a crisis, and as younger members, we need to continue to champion the movement. In particular, we need to prioritize the well-being of seniors. In my experience, many of them have been lonely during this time, and it would be great to put partnerships in place between seniors and younger members, for assistance and even just a phone chat.

The CHF Canada Vision summit that I attended as an emerging leader was pivotal. I think there are career moments that help us to define our purpose, and for me, that was one of them. I was inspired hearing about other young leaders’ involvement in their co-op communities. It made me question if I was doing enough in my own community.

As a child who moved around a lot, I feel that if a co-op had been available to us, that stability would have grounded us. As a coordinator of the Young Members Network, my hope is to encourage young leaders to be active within their co-ops, their communities, and even their provinces. It will be their responsibility to continue the fight we’ve begun to provide ‘housing first’ as a human right to all Canadians.

Throughout 2020, our Humans of Co-op Housing series has featured individuals who are making their co-ops a better place or speaking up for the importance of co-op housing.  We plan to continue these profiles in 2021.  Let us know at info@chfcanada.coop who you’d like to see featured next.


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