- Significant investments are required urgently to address the backlog of housing in First Nations and to ensure First Nations can effectively assume care and control of housing governance, management and delivery.
- The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is encouraging Chiefs to press the federal Minister of Finance, parliamentarians and senior federal officials to make the full housing investment required to address long-standing First Nations housing needs.
- The AFN is pursuing a number of research projects to supplement advocacy efforts and assist in advancing The National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy.
- The National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy, which was developed by a joint working group of representatives from the AFN and the Government of Canada and approved by AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly in 2018, is aimed at addressing housing needs and advancing First Nations self-determination.
The National Housing Forum and Trade Show is taking place virtually March 22-23, 2022, welcoming Chiefs from across Canada, housing experts and public works managers and technicians to continue important discussions that will inform a National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is sharing this bulletin to provide Chiefs with information to assist in housing advocacy efforts in advance of the 2022 Federal Budget and as an update in advance of the National Housing Forum and Trade Show taking place virtually March 22-23, 2022. The Forum will welcome Chiefs from across Canada, housing experts and public works managers and technicians to continue important discussions that will inform a National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy aimed at addressing housing needs and advancing First Nations self-determination.
Federal Budget Advocacy
Statistics show that approximately 60% of First Nations housing is in need of minor or major repairs, with 10% needing complete replacement. Overcrowding is also a problem with approximately 30% of homes being used by multi-generational occupants. This means that an estimated 133,770 housing units are required to address overcrowding, migration and population growth and approximately 80,000 housing units require major renovations, repairs and almost 14,000 units need replacement.
As part of AFN’s pre-budget submission in preparation for Federal Budget 2022, we identified need for a $44 billion federal government investment to address current housing needs and an additional $16 billion to accommodate population growth to 2040 to address the housing crisis created by decades of federal neglect and underfunding. Work is underway on long-term solutions with the involvement of First Nations, including AFN’s efforts to co-develop a Memorandum to Cabinet that will set the terms of transformative change in the federal First Nations housing policy. The AFN also supports First Nations that are preparing to enter, or have already started, discussions with the Government of Canada on the transfer of housing services to First Nations control. First Nations must ultimately be included as key decision-makers in all discussions on solutions to address the ongoing First Nations housing crisis.
The AFN encourages Chiefs to press the Minister of Finance to make the full housing investment required. Chiefs are also urged to continue their advocacy with parliamentarians and senior federal officials to ensure the best possible supportive environment is created for a positive reception of the expected significant First Nations housing investment.
The National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy & Upcoming Research Projects
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) places an obligation on the Government of Canada to ensure every First Nation family has an adequate home and supports the right of First Nations to determine their priorities and strategies, while exercising their right to control their own housing. Meanwhile, First Nations continue to experience a housing and infrastructure gap. Funding is required urgently to address the backlog of housing in First Nations and to ensure First Nations can effectively assume care and control of housing governance, management and delivery. This is outlined in The National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy which was developed by a joint working group of representatives from the AFN and the Government of Canada and approved by AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly in 2018.
Led by First Nations, the Strategy describes the main pillars for First Nations care, control and management of housing. This includes the development of skilled First Nations labour to manage and operate housing systems that will be accountable to First Nations. It includes a 10-year implementation plan aiming to ensure all First Nations, on-and-off-reserve, have access to suitable and adequate housing. Implementing the Strategy includes, but is not limited to, building the entities that will deliver housing programs, a range of financing models, research on the costs related to the transition to First Nations control of housing delivery, and developing a National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Policy and Research Centre.
The AFN is pursuing a number of research projects to supplement our advocacy efforts and assist in advancing the National First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy.
First Nations Housing Skills and Capacity Needs Assessment:
AFN launched the First Nations Housing Skills and Capacity Needs Assessment, which aims to put plans in place for First Nations to effectively manage and administer their own housing systems. Findings will inform AFN’s advocacy and strategic objectives with respect to increasing First Nations skills and capacities in housing as outlined in the Strategy. Visit the AFN website for more information and to participate in the survey.
First Nations Skills and Capacity Roundtable:
A First Nations Housing Skills and Capacity Needs Assessment Roundtable will augment the First Nations Housing Skills and Capacity Needs Assessment by bringing together First Nations leading experts in the Housing Sector. The objective of this project is to provide a concise synopsis on the state of First Nations housing skills and capacity from the perspective of the subject matter experts and to highlight the significant gaps in the field.
First Nations Housing Governance Models:
The Strategy includes the creation of housing authorities or similar entities that will deliver housing programs and be accountable to First Nations. The AFN is implementing this part of the Strategy by launching a research project to gather information and develop a report on various governance models to guide First Nations as they develop the structures that will oversee the management and operations of their new housing entities. Given the uniqueness of each First Nation, it is expected that a wide range of organizational structures will be adopted, each to suit the unique culture, needs and circumstances of each First Nation.
Housing Forum and Tradeshow, March 22-23, 2022
The AFN Housing and Homelessness Sector is hosting its 5th National First Nations Housing Forum and Tradeshow on March 22-23, 2022, that will inform the implementation of the Strategy, while helping to close the gap in housing and advancing First Nations self-determination.
We will be hearing from and engaging with:
- Chiefs or their representative, housing and public works managers, Indigenous housing services
- Providers and individuals who are working in the field of housing management
- First Nations organizations or technicians interested in improving how housing is managed and delivered and;
- Consultants, industry, or other non-government entities involved in First Nations housing.
The forum will include virtual presentations, workshops and a tradeshow. Input from these sessions will support and inform the implementation of the Strategy in accordance with resolution 57/2018.
Please visit afn.ca for more information or to participate in the forum.