Having a dedicated housing manager can make a big difference in your First Nation community. A housing manager will set housing policies, prepare budgets, manage tenant relations, oversee new construction and renovation, and more.

Before hiring a housing manager, it’s important to determine what your community needs and expects from this person. A good housing manager will adopt many different roles: planner, technician, administrator, supervisor, communicator and financial officer. For this reason, preparing a written job description is essential to ensuring the housing manager can meet your expectations.

Most First Nation housing managers will find themselves performing some or all of the following tasks:

Planning

Housing managers are often responsible for developing the housing plan and housing policy for their community. They also prepare short- and long-term housing maintenance plans as well as capital replacement plans.

Applying technical and housing knowledge

Housing managers oversee all new construction and renovation to make sure the community’s housing is up to code. Health and safety are also ensured through annual housing inspections. First Nation housing managers also help prepare applications for various housing programs. This includes developing proposals and tenders, and using technical reports to make smarter decisions and recommendations.

Financial management

Many housing managers prepare the budgets and financial forecasts for their community’s housing needs. They then monitor costs and expenses, and use information found in financial reports to make appropriate decisions.

Administration

Housing mangers need to be well organized. They may be asked to design and run the community’s housing department, including writing the job descriptions for its employees. This can also include organizing community meetings, preparing reports and even serving as chair of the housing committee. First Nation housing managers must also be great record keepers, as they may be responsible for maintaining the community’s housing inventory.

Interpersonal communications

Your housing manager should be personable and a great communicator. If they’re asked to manage other housing staff, they’ll need to know how to complete performance reviews and other evaluations. They must also be comfortable meeting with individual tenants and the community as a whole to discuss housing issues. For example, they may need to organize and attend community meetings, write reports and give presentations.

CMHC success stories

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation: Mutual accountability helps housing office collect rent and puts community members in good financial standing.

Penticton Indian Band: New hire pays off — innovative staff position bridges gaps and improves rent collection.

Contact your local CMHC office for more advice and information on the typical duties of a First Nation housing manager.

Date Published: March 31, 2018