October 30, 2017
(Montreal, QC) – Experts in housing and infrastructure will gather in Montreal, QC today through Wednesday to collaborate on First Nations-led solutions to the housing and infrastructure crisis facing many First Nations. The Forum provides an opportunity for First Nations leaders and experts to collaborate and discuss ways to tackle this critical area of immediate need and to showcase innovative models and new approaches in housing and infrastructure.
“All children deserve to live in healthy homes and healthy communities,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “The goal of this Forum is to bring First Nations together to determine how to realize First Nations care and control of quality housing and infrastructure, and look at solutions to housing and infrastructure deficits from a First Nations perspective. Safe and reliable housing and infrastructure contributes to the personal, social, cultural and economic well-being of First Nations families and builds stronger communities and a stronger country for all of us.”
Census data released by Statistics Canada last week reinforces what First Nations leaders have been saying for many years about the need for investments in housing and infrastructure. One quarter of the First Nations population lives in a home that is in need of major repairs, with 44.2 per cent of them on-reserve. Over-crowding was identified as a major problem with one quarter of First Nations people living in crowded housing, with the on-reserve rate at 36.8 per cent.
“There is a need for a substantial investment in housing and infrastructure to end the crisis and support First Nations goals for care and control over First Nations housing and infrastructure, which is essential for a better future,” said National Chief Bellegarde.
AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who holds the Water, Housing and Infrastructure portfolio for AFN, stated: “The status quo for First Nations is not acceptable. We cannot continue to live in third world conditions with communities that do not have proper infrastructure and safe drinking water. Housing needs in First Nations continues to be at crisis levels with the prevalence of mold, lack of housing and overcrowding being a daily challenge. Canada must make the required investments now. These investments will directly benefit First Nations who face significant housing and infrastructure gaps. This is our opportunity to lead this transformative change.”
The full Forum agenda is available online: http://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Housing-Forum-Provisional-Agenda_EN.pdf
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates #CareAndControl.
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