This is the first federal election in which housing for urban Indigenous peoples has received a different set of promises across multiple party platforms, but Indigenous housing advocates worry there are fewer commitments than what is needed to meaningfully address the crisis.
About 80 percent of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada live non-reserve, and according to Justin Marchand, they make up 90 percent or more of the population experiencing homelessness in a handful of cities such as Timmins and Ontario. Sioux Lookout.
“So you can see in terms of context that if indigenous issues, if housing is important, we need a level of commitment,” said Marchand, executive director of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services and president of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association. (CHRA) Indigenous Caucus.
“We are ready to run. The government, or whoever forms the next government, may be ready to walk, starting with small steps.
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Four of the five major parties have part of its nine recommendations in their platforms, which include working with indigenous peoples to develop a housing strategy.
The Liberals and Greens are calling it an “Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy,” and the Liberals are backing it with an initial investment of $300 million. The Tories are promoting an “indigenous, by indigenous” strategy, while the NDP is offering a fully funded “indigenous national housing strategy” within the first 100 days of being in office.
“For the indigenous, by the indigenous – what does it mean?” asked Dr. Gabrielle Lindstrom, an educational development consultant at the University of Calgary, on Indigenous Ways of Learning.
“Right now, the way it is defined by the government, consultation is not the way Indigenous people see it.”
Lindstrom, who has conducted academic research on Indigenous housing, homelessness and child welfare, said that written promises do not indicate that Indigenous people will be able to lead the creation of these strategies, instead acting as partners. Or take charge once. and running.
He said they fail to demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the issue, which raises doubts about how racism in the housing sector will be eradicated under the leadership of each party.
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“For Indigenous peoples, it’s not just about having more roofs over our heads, it’s about being able to feel that we are in a place where we have the freedom of Indigenous people, where we can enjoy our culture.” exercise, where we can access the natural environment,” she said.
For Indigenous peoples, she said, this means “even access to enough space that is different from how we understand family, which is different from the Western nuclear understanding of family.”
Lindstrom also noted that some platforms fail to deliver on their housing promises in terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Call to Action, and none provide specific support for Indigenous peoples who move from reserves to urban areas. areas living in.
The HUMA committee report also calls on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) to support Indigenous housing strategies and a new Urban, Rural and Northern Housing Center, which will be co-developed by Indigenous peoples, governments, communities and organizations .
The Liberal Party is committed to co-developing a National Indigenous Habitat Center with Indigenous peoples who oversee housing programs “once fully realized”, but the Green Platform is the only one in which the CMHC is included.
Green Party leader Annie Paul has promised to change the law that prevents indigenous organizations from accessing
CMHC financing to invest in self-determined housing needs. She also pledges to establish a housing assistance program “for the indigenous, by the indigenous”.
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Both the Liberals and the Greens have also pledged to appoint a new federal housing advocate – something long said, said Nisga housing advocate Lugigue Patrick Stewart, who is also the first Indigenous president of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.
However, he is disappointed that none of his platforms include the billions of dollars and faster time-frames that would be needed to “bridge the gap”.
“If they say they are going to propose so many units per year for the next 10 years and we already know it will not be enough, and they form the government, then what?” He asked.
“So I don’t think anyone is really winning hands down.“
If re-elected, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has pledged $2 billion for Indigenous housing, with more than half of that funding available by next summer. Conservative leaders Erin O’Toole, NDP leaders Jagmeet Singh and Paul have not included a dollar figure in their commitments to indigenous housing.
O’Toole, rather, has vowed to provide the regions with their “fair shares” of federal housing funding, and work with “indigenous groups, including Inuit” to ensure that housing is built.
Singh has promised “safe and affordable housing” in Indigenous communities on and off-reserve, while promising to “immediately” tackle health risks in Indigenous homes.
Paul has vowed to invest in housing for Indigenous peoples that includes consulting,…