August 10, 2012
(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed serious concern over reductions in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) allocations for housing on-reserve through the On Reserve Non Profit Housing Program Section 95, continuing calls for urgent attention and concrete action in coordination with First Nations to address the housing crisis in First Nation communities across the country.
“New initiatives or changes to existing programs, without regard for need, do not address the shortfall in housing needs in First Nation communities. In fact, unilateral decisions like this one exacerbate the already deplorable housing conditions in too many of our communities,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “This program is headed in the wrong direction. Federal programs already do not come close to meeting the basic housing needs for First Nations across the country. A housing strategy must look at serious alternatives to meeting the demand including increased responsibility and control by First Nations and the opportunity to advance new partnerships and sustainability plans at the community level.”
CMHC’s On Reserve Non Profit Housing Program assists First Nations in the construction, purchase and rehabilitation, and administration of suitable, adequate and affordable rental housing on-reserve. CMHC provides a subsidy to the project to assist with its financing and operation. Some First Nations have recently been advised they will see significant reductions in these allocations via the Section 95 program.
An independent analysis of CMHC annual reports provides the following:
On Reserve Non Profit Housing Program Section 95 units committed by year across Canada (excluding CEAP)
2012- 548 (planned)
Source: From CMHC Summary of the Corporate Plans
“The national First Nations housing crisis, which made headlines last year in the wake of the tragic situation in Attawapiskat, clearly shows that federal programs are not meeting the current needs of our citizens, let alone the future needs of a rapidly growing population,” said National Chief Atleo. “We cannot wait for another tragedy to make headlines. Now is the time to take a hard look at the performance and ability of housing programs to meet needs and address our shared challenges in a timely way. Overcrowding and inadequate housing a social determinant of health, and our people must be healthy in order to achieve success. The status quo simply is not acceptable and we require concrete action now, in coordination with First Nations, to ensure appropriate and effective change.”
The Assembly of First Nations estimates a current housing shortage of 85,000 units nationally and about 44,000 requiring major repairs.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates @AFN_Comms.
Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or e-mail [email protected]