The Indigenous Housing Caucus was established in 2013 at our annual Congress on Housing and Homelessness in recognition of the large number of Indigenous-led and Indigenous-serving organizations who are members and wanted to work together for better housing for northern, rural, and urban First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples. Indigenous housing and homelessness service providers across the country face a number of challenges to which the Indigenous Caucus is responding with resourcefulness, good management and innovation.
Since 2013, the Indigenous Caucus has grown both in size and influence, becoming a credible body for developing and providing Indigenous policy advice on housing and homelessness. The Indigenous Caucus meets together in person once a year at Indigenous Housing Caucus Day. Throughout the remainder of the year the interests, feedback, advice, and recommendations communicated on Caucus Day is represented and actioned by CHRA’s Indigenous Housing Caucus Working Group. The Working Group assembles via monthly conference calls to advise and provide Indigenous perspectives on emerging national housing and homelessness issues to CHRA, as well as provide advocacy support and propose research projects exploring various facets of Indigenous housing and homelessness issues.
The Working Group is composed of CHRA members from across the country with an expertise and understanding of Indigenous housing, including tenant support, building operations, cultural issues, and homelessness. Robert Byers, President and CEO of Namerind Housing Corporation in Regina, has served as Indigenous Communities Director on the CHRA Board of Directors, and as Chair of the CHRA Indigenous Housing Caucus since 2013. Other members of the Working Group include :
- Stéphan Corriveau, CHRA Board President, and Director General of Réseau québécois des OSBL d’habitation
- Pamela Hine, CHRA Regional Director for the Northern Territories, and President of Yukon Housing Corporation
- Margaret Pfoh, CHRA Regional Director for B.C., and CEO of Aboriginal Housing Management Association
- David Eddy, CEO of the Vancouver Native Housing Society
- Richard George, President of the Vancouver Native Housing Society
- Susan McGee, CHRA Regional Director for Alberta, and CEO of Homeward Trust Edmonton
- Marc Maracle, Executive Director of Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corporation
- Justin Marchand, Executive Director of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services
- Christin Swim, General Manager of Skigin-Elnoog Housing Corporation
- Phil Brown, former CHRA Board President
- Louise Atkins, former volunteer CHRA Indigenous Caucus Coordinator
And are supported by CHRA staff Jeff Morrison, Executive Director, and SM Leduc, Manager of Policy and Research, and Indigenous Caucus Coordinator.
INDIGENOUS HOUSING CAUCUS DAY
Caucus Day takes place in conjunction with CHRA’s annual Congress on Housing and Homelessness. It is a full-day collaborative forum attended by over 150 delegates from across Canada, ranging from urban and regional non-profit Indigenous Housing corporations, local homelessness service providers and regional homelessness coordinators, representatives of all orders of government, and private sector actors in academia and business.
Caucus Day is a platform to network, share information, highlight Indigenous examples of effective housing management and sector innovation, and provide input and direction on CHRA's Indigenous initiatives and advocacy work. Caucus Day 2019 will be taking place in Victoria, B.C on 02 April 2019 (details to follow).
Indigenous Caucus Day summary reports
ADVOCACY AND RESEARCH
The Indigenous Caucus is an invaluable resource which helps inform and support broader CHRA advocacy and research with respect to Indigenous housing issues.
A For Indigenous By Indigenous National Housing Strategy
In June 2018 CHRA and CHRA's Indigenous Housing Caucus Working Group released a "For Indigenous, By Indigenous National Housing Strategy" calling on the government to address the housing needs of urban, rural and northern Indigenous families and individuals, including the disproportionate representation of Indigenous Peoples living in homelessness and core housing.
Read the full Strategy (pdf)
The federal National Housing Strategy unveiled in November 2017 committed to working toward co-developing three distinctions-based First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation housing strategies. However, the Government of Canada's distinctions-based approach risks creating a large service gap for the 87 per cent of Indigenous Peoples not living on reserve lands, but in the urban, rural and northern parts of Canada. To eliminate the service gap, the paper asserts that the federal government must acknowledge and fund a fourth strategy for Indigenous households in need of housing in urban, rural and northern areas.
2017 Policy Paper
The "For Indigenous, By Indigenous" Strategy is the culmination of a two-year process involving the Indigenous Caucus. CHRA and the Indigenous Caucus' first iteration of a strategy to bring forward the housing needs of urban and rural Indigenous Peoples began at Indigenous Housing Caucus Day in 2016 and 2017. Following discussions and deliberations, as well as a broader research document, CHRA used the input gathered from Caucus Day delegates to develop a series of recommendations for a distinct urban and rural Indigenous Housing Strategy. The Indigenous Caucus submitted the policy paper containing recommendations to the Government of Canada in June 2017, which was widely shared and distributed to politicians and senior decision makers.
Read the Policy Paper containing Recommendations for an Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Strategy (pdf)
Resolution to Support an Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy
During CHRA’s Annual General Meeting in April 2018, members passed a strongly worded resolution supporting the development of an urban, rural, northern and metropolitan Indigenous Housing Strategy. It calls on the Government of Canada to develop a strategy that would set forth an objective of raising the standard of Indigenous housing to that of non-Indigenous Canadians within the next 10 years.
Signatories to this declaration are resolved to:
- Campaign – within Canadian society generally, and to the Government of Canada specifically – to adhere to the concept that the only acceptable outcome of the National Housing Strategy regarding Indigenous Peoples is to bring their housing standard to that of non-Indigenous Canadians within the next 10 years;
- Call on the Government of Canada to commit the necessary resources to achieve this goal; and,
- Call on the Government of Canada to develop a fourth Indigenous Housing Strategy to acknowledge, respect and address the housing needs of Indigenous households living in the urban, rural, and northern areas of Canada.
This Resolution is endorsed by the following individuals and organisations:
We encourage members and other organisations to officially endorse this Resolution. Add your support to the growing list. Contact Indigenous@chra-achru.ca
The following CHRA research projects, initiatives and reports relate to Indigenous housing, homelessness and intersecting issues.
Cassandra Vink, with assistance from Steve Pomeroy and Jodi Ball (May 2012)
A review of policy options to help form the basis of an Indigenous housing strategy, and research and analysis in terms of how these policy options could be operationalized.
James Burr and Steve Pomeroy (March 2017)
A survey of 135 Indigenous housing providers in urban and rural areas to benchmark the status of Indigenous employment among housing providers, obtain information on training experiences, and learn how organizations are faring as subsidy agreements expire.
Indigenous Housing Case Study Series 2014
This series documents best practices and different models of Indigenous housing on-reserve and in urban centres in Western Canada, with thanks to the financial contribution of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (now Indigenous Services Canada)
Highlighting the rent collection best-practices established by the Tsleil Waututh First Nation, BC, this case study explores how community engagement is critical to the development and application of rental and housing policies.
Prince Albert Grand Council is leading the way in the development of building-code, inspection and design standards, and this case study looks at how this is improving housing conditions and the move toward homeownership for First Nation communities in Saskatchewan.
By aligning social enterprise partnerships with an affordable housing mandate, Namerind Housing Corporation in Saskatoon has developed a new business model in order to diversify their revenue streams in support of broader community and social needs.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Alberta Region is piloting a new program bringing interested First Nations of Alberta and an existing Alberta-based initiative, the HOME Program, together in support of off-reserve homeownership for First Nations in the province.
This case study looks at the committment of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba to the National Building Code, which has brought many expected and unexpected benefits from lowered maintenance costs to improved energy efficiency and air quality along with training and employment opportunities.
Modified: September 2018