In addition to his given name, Don also carries with him his hereditary name, Sealth. This is a name that he is honoured to carry as it is shared with his grandfather, Don Elliott Sr. and is a name that comes from Chief Seattle, for which the City of Seattle is named.
Professionally, Don began his career working in homelessness, supporting efforts around systems transformation in the Victoria Capital Region. This work provided Don the opportunity to engage a wide array of stake holders taking an asset-based approach to mobilizing capacity toward enhanced homelessness intervention activities. This work formed the foundation of the Regional Housing First Program, a $120 million capital funding program developed in partnership between the Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia and the Capital Regional District to invest in the creation of more than 350 units of housing available to individuals experiencing or at-risk of homelessness at shelter-rate and more than 1,500 units of affordable rental housing.
After moving into an Executive Director role with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Don’s focus grew to include critical work around strategic and long-range planning and included a range of initiatives focused on employee recruitment and retention, corporate capacity, and board governance matters.
In 2019, Don moved into regional government where he became a Manager, First Nations Relations. While in this role he was responsible for supporting the relationship between the Capital Regional District and the nine First Nations with occupied reserve lands within the capital region. While in this role, Don led and supported efforts around collaborative governance, on-reserve infrastructure improvements, economic development and engagement of Indigenous knowledge keepers in planning and implementing land-altering works.
In late 2020, Don took his current position as Senior Manager, Regional Housing at the Capital Regional District. This role includes the direct oversight of the housing operations of the more than 2,000 units of affordable rental housing under the Capital Region Housing Corporation, a more than $230 million 5-year capital plan, and the administration of a range of federal programs including the Reaching Home Program and the Rapid Housing Initiative.
At his core, Don believes in building on past successes and drawing on the strengths of the housing sector and its those supporting the delivery of affordable housing for those in-need. This is a way to both honour and acknowledge the past while also knowing that the future of the housing sector holds a greater degree of uncertainty and challenge than anytime in recent memory. And housing is more desperately needed than any time in recent memory, Don sees the solutions as involving an increased degree of collaboration, coordination, resourcing, as well as the courage to make change.