Q&A with ONPHA Award Winner Robert Huff

The Centre for Environmental Health Equity congratulates Robert Huff on being awarded a 2016 ONPHA (Ontario Non Profit Housing Association) Tenant Achievement Award. Robert has long been a fixture of the CEHE team and we are delighted to see him recognized for his hard work. We invited him to tell us a little bit more about his work in the following Q&A.

Q: What do the tenant achievement awards recognize?
: Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) is a member based organization to more than 700 non-profit housing providers that provides housing and support services to over 400,000 Ontarians.

Each year ONPHA honours 4 tenants or tenant groups from across the province with the Tenant Achievement Recognition Award who help make their non-profit housing community a better place to live. Presented at their annual Conference and Gala in downtown Toronto.

Q: Could you please tell us a little bit about what you do and what impact you think it has on the community?
My passion is in the design field. I find tremendous rewards when I can use my talents and experiences to better my surroundings and community. And that can be with print media digital design, interior and exterior decorating, gardening and curb appeal – all tied together with a real world function based approach.

I truly believe that we all deserve the best and healthiest environment to live and grow in. And just because folks are living in this type of environment, it doesn’t need to look or feel that way. When our communities are fostered with a sense of caring, beauty, safety and cleanliness, intricate health benefits are seen and felt. Like a ripple through our lives.

Q: How did you get involved in this work? How long have you been in this role?
I publically talk about my past and use my experiences to show others that there is hope in healing/recovering from a serious illness. In 2010, with Jeff Masuda and Tara Zupancic, I became the Community Project Coordinator for The SUCCEED Project. This is where volunteering in my community morphed into an immediate passionate commitment for promoting positive social change and creating healthy environments.

Q: What are your plans moving forward?
Working with a social housing providor, I have created community spaces, refreshed and resigned tenant’s homes, created curb appeal and butterfly gardens at 20 large century style shared homes and 2 historic apartment complexes. I was also led an energy conservation program (GLOBE) Green Light on a Better Environment with tenants and managers. As well as partnering not only with CEHE, but with organizations such Centre for Social Innovation, Parkdale Village BIA and The Homegrown National Park Project. I never stop advocating and working towards a better environment, however that may be.

This past summer, I graduated from Natural Minds – Lasting Connections, a 10 person Nature Ambassador Training Program provided by Toronto Conservation Authority. I am very pleased to partner with Parkdale Walking Group, to provide nature appreciation wellness walks with a guided mindful practice to the public.

Congratulations again, Robert, and thank you taking the time to tell us about your work!
Thank you for this opportunity to be recognized. Folks can learn more at the following resources:

Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, Awards 2016

The Centre for Environmental Health Equity

CPCHE’s RentSafe initiative: Advocating for safer housing for low-income tenants and families

The SUCCEED Project

Parkdale Walking Group

Toronto Conservation Authority

Parkdale Village BIA

David Suzuki Foundation, The Homegrown National Park Project

Robert Huff
Contact: robert.huff@queensu.ca