URN Declaration blog_header

Founding URN Indigenous Coalition members in Vancouver, BC November 25, 2022

For Indigenous By Indigenous: The National Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Coalition Declaration

15 Dec 2022

By Kimberley Brown, Director, CHRA Indigenous Caucus

 

A landmark Indigenous housing alliance has been officially created, and we invite you to join us!

Indigenous housing providers and leaders attended the National Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Stakeholder Gathering on November 25, 2022, in Vancouver, BC and online to form a National Urban, Rural, Northern Indigenous Housing Coalition. This marks a significant advancement toward self-determination and the creation of a nation urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing strategy, created by and delivered by Indigenous peoples.

Previously, Indigenous friendship societies, housing associations and corporations served their local and provincial communities but there hasn’t been a common Indigenous voice nationally and only BC and Ontario have provincial representation. Now, members will contribute collectively across all regions and territories. Together we have the experience and expertise to create and deliver an URN Indigenous housing strategy – now we also have the coalition in place to get it done.

The Indigenous Caucus at CHRA organized and supported the Gathering and will continue to support the coalition.

 

National Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Coalition Declaration

Preamble

The National Housing Council’s Urban, Rural, and Northern (URN) Housing working group report dated March 11, 2022 provided recommendations on governance, immediate, substantial and sustainable investment in URN Indigenous housing, and homelessness. The NHC is in support of the National URN Body. The URN Report was accepted by the Minister and the 2022 federal budget provided some initial resources.  As recommended by the NHC Report, the body will oversee the delivery of URN Indigenous Housing funding on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous organizations, including the Canada Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) Indigenous Caucus and others, have committed decades of working with and for Indigenous peoples in the area of housing and wrap-around services and met on November 25, 2022 to discuss the next steps on the URN body and strategy.

Upon discussion and reflection of work completed to date, the undersigned have agreed to next steps with respect to moving the important work forward on the Indigenous URN strategy.

 

Areas of Mutual Agreement

As such, we, the founding undersigned, have agreed to participate in a For Indigenous By Indigenous Housing Coalition to uphold and advance Housing as a human right for all Indigenous peoples living in urban, rural, and northern communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Indigenous peoples, as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), have the right, without discrimination, to improve their economic and social conditions, including housing (UNDRIP Article 21); the right to  housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them, and administer such programmes through their own institutions (UNDRIP Article 23), and; to maintain and strengthen their distinct social and cultural institutions (UNDRIP Article 5).

The signatories have agreed to work together through this Coalition, in addition to our own ongoing mandates, to advance housing for urban, rural, and northern Indigenous peoples, and to work together to fulfill our responsibilities and to make decisions that ensure the well-being of Indigenous peoples and our lands. The Coalition remains open to welcome other Indigenous member organizations that support the purpose of the Declaration.

 

Principles

In advancing this work, we agree to abide by the following principles:

  • Respect for each other and upholding self-determination and Indigenous sovereignty. The signatories are autonomous Indigenous organizations that form a coalition to achieve the housing purposes of the coalition;
  • Through the development of culturally appropriate housing and services, we support the retention and revitalization of our diverse cultures through our respective cultures and traditions, ways of knowing and being, and respect for the land;
  • To be respectful of each other and of all life; and
  • To ensure that housing is provided to all URN Indigenous peoples on an equitable and as needed basis, in an Indigenous holistic manner.

 

Action Items

As a part of this declaration, the signatories agree to the following action items:

  • Incorporate a national URN Indigenous housing entity to achieve collective goals, manage and control allocated funds that will be used towards providing housing and housing supports for Indigenous peoples;
  • Collaborate with one another through the national organizational structure to provide Housing for urban, rural, and northern Indigenous peoples;
  • Work together to compile research, develop communications strategies with respect to advancing the urban, rural, and northern housing strategy;
  • Jointly identify, develop, and advocate priority initiatives that the signatories mutually agree upon;
  • Acknowledge the need for partnerships with governments, municipalities and Indigenous governments and other parties to benefit the provision of Housing for urban, rural, and northern Indigenous peoples; and
  • Make decisions jointly with partner organizations where collectively agreed upon.

 

Founding Signatories on November 25, 2022

National Association of Friendship Centres

Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Aboriginal Housing Management Association

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services

Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

Namerind Housing Corporation

Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre

Cariboo Friendship Centre Society

Skigin-Elnoog Housing Corporation

Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre

Elbert Chartrand Friendship Centre

Keepers of the Circle / National Indigenous Feminist Housing Working Group

M’akola Housing Society

Gabriel Housing Corporation

Lu’ma Native Housing Society

 

How Indigenous-led organizations can contribute

Indigenous-governed organizations can join the coalition at any time. The declaration identifies areas of mutual agreement, principles, and actions. If you are interested, click here to join the Coalition.

Together, we will demonstrate to the federal government that we have wide-spread support to/for/by Urban Indigenous peoples from coast-to-coast-coast.

 

Wider sectoral support

Add your organization as a supporter of Indigenous housing by uploading your organization’s logo.

Most importantly, stay updated and use your voice to amplify this significant advancement of URN Indigenous peoples.

 

CHRA is proud to support the coalition

It was an absolute privilege to bear witness to a transformative moment in time, resulting from amazing leadership,” said Timothy Crooks, President of CHRA, “the CHRA Board stands fully beside our Indigenous housing colleagues in support and solidarity.

CHRA and its board of directors are calling for the Government of Canada to work with the National Urban, Rural, Northern Indigenous Housing Coalition to fund a for-Indigenous, by-Indigenous urban, rural and northern housing strategy.