News

First Nations Forum to Address Housing & Infrastructure Crisis

on October 31, 2017

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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For more information, please contact:

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckFirst Nations Forum to Address Housing & Infrastructure Crisis

Assembly of First Nations 2017 National Housing & Infrastructure Forum ‘Moving Towards First Nations Care and Control of Housing and Infrastructure’

on October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY

(Montreal, QC): The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) will convene a national Housing and Infrastructure Forum to be held October 30 – November 1 in Montreal, Quebec. The Forum provides an opportunity for First Nations leaders and experts to dialogue ways to tackle this area of critical need and showcase innovative models and new approaches in housing, infrastructure and drinking water.

Delegates will discuss the concept of a First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy, and options for First Nations care and control of housing and infrastructure. This is a long-standing and urgent priority. Census data released by Statistics Canada this week indicates that one quarter of the First Nations population lives in a house that is in need of major repairs, with 44.2 per cent of them on-reserve. Over-crowding was identified as another major problem with one quarter of First Nations people living in crowded housing, with those on-reserves at a rate of 36.8 per cent.

DATE: Monday, October 30 to Wednesday, November 1, 2017

LOCATION: Fairmont Queen Elizabeth 900 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montreal, QC

The 2017 National Housing & Infrastructure Forum is open to media and to the public.

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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For more information, please contact:

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations 2017 National Housing & Infrastructure Forum ‘Moving Towards First Nations Care and Control of Housing and Infrastructure’

TECHNICAL BULLETIN – First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy

on August 17, 2017

“All First Nation members living on or away from their community have a right to shelter and they must be provided with an opportunity to access safe, secure, adequate and affordable housing.” (AFN: National First Nations Housing Strategy)

This Bulletin is an update from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) on the First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy, a new approach to housing (including off-reserve housing) and infrastructure.

First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy

First Nations people must lead the development of a First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy to ensure the transformative change of housing and infrastructure is envisioned from a First Nations perspective. First Nations care and control of housing and infrastructure is the guiding principle.

First Nations are responsible for our members both on and off reserve. We need to ensure off-reserve housing is included in the scope of our Strategy, and we also need to include infrastructure as we can’t talk about housing without having the infrastructure to support it.

A new approach to meeting First Nations housing and infrastructure needs requires long-term sustainable investments and respect for regional perspectives and approaches. For example, First Nations north of 60 (Yukon and Northwest Territories) are not involved in the decision making process on how funds are spent for housing and infrastructure. As part of this transformative change, First Nations need to be involved in all decision making processes, and furthermore, funding needs to be flowed directly to First Nation communities for the care and control of housing and infrastructure.

The AFN’s Chiefs Committee on Housing and Infrastructure (CCoHI) provides political and technical guidance with respect to AFN’s engagement with Canada on housing and infrastructure related issues, thereby supporting the identification and development of strategies to better pursue a new approach to housing and infrastructure.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is mandated pursuant to but not limited to resolutions, 70/2015, 74/2015, 96/2016, 98/2016 passed by the Chiefs-in-Assembly, to engage with the Federal Government on housing and infrastructure.

At the recent 2017 AFN Annual General Assembly held in Regina, Saskatchewan, a resolution was passed by the Chiefs-in-Assembly that directed the AFN and Chiefs Committee on Housing and Infrastructure to jointly develop, with the federal government, a Terms of Reference for the establishment of a joint Working Group that will develop a First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy, which will include housing both on- and off-reserve.

This resolution further directs the AFN and the CCoHI to work in partnership with First Nations and the Government of Canada on the co-development of a strategic plan with short, medium and long-term objectives and outcomes, which will be implemented to contribute to the development of a National First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Strategy.

Next Steps

The AFN, Chiefs Committee on Housing and Infrastructure (CCoHI) and AFN Regional Housing Technicians are working towards developing a Terms of Reference with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), and other federal departments and agencies with a mandate for housing and on-reserve community infrastructure (e.g. the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Health Canada).

The Working Group will work towards obtaining and sharing information on First Nation views on a new approach to housing, including off-reserve housing and infrastructure. The Working Group will ensure First Nations leadership and their representatives’ take a lead role on the transformative change of housing and infrastructure as envisioned from their perspective and regional priorities.

The immediate work of the Working Group will be to develop the scope and parameters to assist regional engagement sessions so that information gathered will lead to the development of the First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Strategy.

First Nations led regional engagement sessions will commence over the summer and fall of 2017.

The AFN will continue to engage with First Nations at upcoming forums and think tank sessions to seek broader input from First Nations leadership, technician, regional organizations and other stakeholders on housing and infrastructure reform. A Housing Forum is being planned for October 30th to November 1st, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec.

Further information on these upcoming engagement sessions, AFN forums and think tank sessions will be posted on the AFN website.

For more information please contact Irving Leblanc, Director, Housing, Infrastructure and Emergency Services, ileblanc@afn.ca.

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Roy WhiteduckTECHNICAL BULLETIN – First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy

Housing, Infrastructure, Water and Emergency Services

on July 3, 2017

Housing, Infrastructure, Water and Emergency Services

Contact

Irving Leblanc
Director


Kelly Whiteduck
Administrative Assistant


Gail Gallagher
Policy Analyst


Trina Fox
Administrative Assistant


Tammy Cote
Sr. Policy Analyst


David Diabo
Special Advisor-Emergency Management


read more
jordyHousing, Infrastructure, Water and Emergency Services

22/11/16 AFN Responds to Federal Housing Report and Lets Talk Housing Consultations

on November 23, 2016

November 22, 2016.

(Ottawa, ON) The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) responded to the Government of Canada’s housing report released today, entitled What We Heard: Shaping Canada’s National Housing Strategy. The AFN says the report has a number of serious shortcomings that stem from the lack of adequate engagement with First Nations, including the AFN.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated: “Housing is a critical issue for First Nations citizens and this report would have benefitted from dedicated engagement with First Nations. That’s the best way to get the best results that can create real change. First Nations are struggling with inadequate living conditions on our ancestral lands and across our traditional territories. We face nothing less than a crisis with regard to housing, which is acknowledged by international human rights bodies, advocacy groups, governments, and this very report. We can build on the work in this report through a better and broader dialogue with First Nations. We look forward to a better and broader dialogue on a nation to nation approach, and we are open to facilitating further engagement with Canada and First Nations to get real input from the rights holders.”

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who oversees the Water, Housing and Infrastructure portfolio for the AFN, said: “We want a national dialogue with all First Nations on the reforms that are needed to move First Nations out of the existing housing crisis into a more sustainable approach. We need to support and develop First Nations organizations and institutions for housing and infrastructure. A new fiscal arrangement needs to be negotiated to ensure First Nations are in charge of their future, and we need to identify long term solutions that come from our leaders and experts.”

The Assembly of First Nations heard from hundreds of First Nations leaders and experts from across Canada at the AFN’s National Housing and Infrastructure Forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 1-3, 2016. A detailed report based on these discussions, including innovative and constructive proposals for First Nations-led solutions to the housing crisis, will be released by the AFN in December.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

Media contact:

Jenn Jefferys
Communications Officer
613-222-9656
jjefferys@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857
agaron@afn.ca

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rdbrinkhurst22/11/16 AFN Responds to Federal Housing Report and Lets Talk Housing Consultations

1/11/16 AFN National Chief Opens Housing and Infrastructure Forum Calling for National Strategy Led by First Nations

on November 1, 2016

November 1, 2016 

(Winnipeg, MB) Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today opened the AFN National Housing and Infrastructure Forum – “Moving Forward on First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Reform” in Winnipeg by calling for a First Nations-led strategy and national action plan to put forward solutions that will ensure safe and healthy housing and infrastructure to meet the needs of all First Nations.

“The AFN is convening this Forum because First Nations must lead this work and we are ready to share our ideas and look at examples of success,” said National Chief Bellegarde, who spoke at the Forum today.  “Our people live the reality of the housing and infrastructure deficit everyday. We do have the expertise and the experience to develop the right solutions and  we invite partners in government, industry and the public to work with us.”

“Every First Nation family and individual, no matter where they live, deserves to live in a healthy home that is safe, dry, and free of overcrowding,” the National Chief added. “They deserve clean drinking water and communities with essential government services including infrastructure facilities. We must make this a priority as we eliminate the social and economic gap between Indigenous peoples and others in Canada.”

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is convening the National Housing and Infrastructure Forum – “Moving Forward on First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Reform” from November 1-3 at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The AFN is working with leadership and representatives in all territories to discuss the strategies and action needed to address the persistent lack of adequate housing and infrastructure faced by so many First Nations for so long.

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart added: “I believe that working together on initiatives driven by First Nations expertise and knowledge is how we will finally overcome this housing crisis. We invite all partners to work with us to design and implement the needed reforms. Through systems change we can have viable, healthy First Nations where no one lives in a home that should be condemned, or lacks the most basic necessities to support young growing families.”

A detailed agenda for the Forum is available at:

http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/16-10-18_provisional_agenda_nfnhif_2016-2.pdf

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

Jenn Jefferys
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 110
613-222-9656 (cell)
jjefferys@afn.ca

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rdbrinkhurst1/11/16 AFN National Chief Opens Housing and Infrastructure Forum Calling for National Strategy Led by First Nations

Housing

on June 25, 2015

First Nations Housing

All First Nations members living on or away from their community have a right to shelter and must be provided with an opportunity to access safe, secure, adequate and affordable housing.

National First Nations Housing Strategy

All First Nations members living on or away from their community have a right to shelter and must be provided with an opportunity to access safe, secure, adequate and affordable housing.

According to the Housing Conditions on Reserve – Results from Phase 2 (2008-10) RHS and Community Survey

  • 50.9% of First Nation adults reported mold and mildew present in their homes
  • 43.5% of adults with asthma and 52% of those with chronic bronchitis are living with mold in their homes.

The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples study on First Nations Housing and Infrastructure

The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples conducted a study on the challenges relating to First Nations housing and infrastructure on reserves. An interim report was released February 2015 on what was heard so far. The interim report stated: “What the Committee has heard and seen about housing has been compelling. The poor quality of housing and the overcrowding in many communities is a distressing situation. At the same time, the Committee has been inspired by the innovative approaches taken by creative individuals in so many communities across the country. Indeed, innovation has been where big strides have been made by First Nations—in financing mechanisms, land use, and building materials.”

The final report On-Reserve Housing and Infrastructure: Recommendations for Change was released in June 2015. The AFN and the Chair of the Senate Committee met and agreed to work together to support the 13 recommendations in the report. The overarching recommendation was that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada remove the 2% cap on annual increases on funding, effective in Budget 2016-2017. In Budget 2016, the Government committed “to lift the 2 per-cent funding cap for First Nations programs and work to establish a new fiscal relationship that gives First Nations communities sufficient, predictable and sustained funding.” Of the 13 recommendations, 8 were for housing and 5 for infrastructure. These recommendations will be considered during the reform engagement meetings.

Housing and Infrastructure Reform
Development of a Sustainable Approach

In fiscal 2016/2017, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) supported several engagements with the CCoHI, the AFN Regional Housing and Infrastructure Technicians and regional organizations, and will support a National infrastructure Reform Forum. The objectives of these meetings and the Forum were to seek input and recommendations on reforming delivery of housing and infrastructure. Focused discussions were planned on how to better manage and deliver programs in housing, water and wastewater and community infrastructure. The Forum also supported, in partnership with First Nations, the identification of sustainable funding needed beyond the short-term (Budget 2016), medium-term (5 years) and long-term (10–20 years).

Financing Options

The Assembly of First Nations continues to look for suitable financing options for First Nations Housing. The key components of any financing model for housing should include.


  • Access to credit, debt and equity


  • Improved access to all traditional infrastructure financing mechanisms;


  • Full capacity support for housing and infrastructure managers with the abilities to implement local housing initiatives;


  • Knowledge sharing and networking; and


  • First Nations control.

BMO Bank of Montreal On-Reserve Housing Loan Program

 

BMO Bank of Montreal is working with First Nations and their members to create on-reserve housing loan programs without federal government assistance. The programs are designed to reflect the specific needs of a First Nation and provide members the opportunity to own their own home through access to housing loans for the construction or purchase of owner-occupied, single family dwellings or to finance major renovations to existing homes.

BMO Bank of Montreal On-Reserve Home Renovation Program

 

BMO Bank of Montreal has introduced a financing option for First Nations to help their members upgrade existing single family, owner-occupied homes located on First Nation territory. Through access to personal loans from $5,000 to $25,000, on-reserve home renovation loan programs provide eligible borrowers the opportunity to renovate homes to increase energy efficiency and/or create a healthier environment. For more information, please contact your nearest BMO Bank of Montreal branch.

First Nations Market Housing Fund

 

The First Nations Market Housing Fund is a new and innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada and Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation to give First Nations members greater access to housing loans on-reserve and on settlement lands. BMO Bank of Montreal is a participating lender for First Nations who qualify for the Fund. For more information visit the First Nations Market Housing Fund at www.fnmhf.ca.

Habitat for Humanity Fredericton and Tobique First Nation

In 2016, Tobique First Nation (TFN) and Habitat Fredericton formalized a partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement saw the first ever Habitat home constructed on reserve in Atlantic Canada. This project looked to address overcrowding and the housing deficit, while also including a youth skills training component.  This project is currently in progress with a second home breaking ground in the spring of 2017.

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Kikinaw Elders Lodge ‘Our Home’

In 2016, the Flying Dust First Nation and Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster celebrated the completion of the Kikinaw Elders Lodge, Habitat Canada’s first on-reserve build. The 10-unit accommodation addresses the housing and wellness needs of the Elders at Flying Dust, while also addressing the housing continuum problem. In addition to providing appropriate housing for the Elders, their previous homes are being retrofitted for younger families and the project creates opportunities for First Nation youth to obtain training and skills in construction.  This project is currently in progress.

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Housing Staff

Irving Leblanc
Director


Kelly Whiteduck
Administrative Assistant


Gail Gallagher
Policy Analyst


Trina Fox
Administrative Assistant


Tammy Cote
Sr. Policy Analyst


David Diabo
Special Advisor-Emergency Management


read more
rdbrinkhurstHousing
Assembly of First Nations
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