Feds to test limits of Indigenous housing ideas through new contest - APTN NewsAPTN News

Feds to test limits of Indigenous housing ideas through new contest

The Canadian Press
The Trudeau Liberals are offering Indigenous communities $30 million in prize money as part of a contest that could end up rewriting the rules about how the federal government funds badly needed housing on-reserve.

Key to the contest is to draw in private sector builders to help finance the construction and repairing of homes in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.

The Liberals have made overtures to the private sector to help cover the cost for on-reserve infrastructure to close the estimated $30 billion needed to repair and upgrade homes, roads, and water systems.

Now they’re looking for new ideas to test.

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said government funding alone can’t surmount the scale of the housing problem and suggested federal spending rules can get in the way.

She said the contest will help suss out needed policy changes for projects and ideas that aren’t easily permitted under existing funding rules, such as mixed-used projects that combine residential and commercial space.

“Going along with business as usual is not going to close that (housing) gap quickly,” she said in an interview ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled announcement.

“This is an opportunity to say, perhaps we need to change some of the approach _ how can we, in fact, be smarter about the money that we’re spending.”

More details about the program will be announced this fall at the open of applications for the prize money. The winnings will be awarded over three rounds starting in spring 2019.

The contest is the latest in a string of challenges the Liberals have launched since coming to office in November 2015, aiming to reshape how funding recipients think about projects and how the government spends money.

What the government is looking for out of the contest is to fund projects that can be replicated in other communities, bring back traditional Indigenous building styles and techniques, and create an economic boost for communities that could include sourcing materials locally or providing job training to young people.

“This is an opportunity to say ‘if you have an idea of how you can actually address the social problem and at the same time provide housing space’ then these are the kinds of things we would like to support,” Philpott said.

“Once you can demonstrate proof of concept, often that will be the trigger that it will take for others to be able to scale up those examples.”

A report in May from the Indigenous caucus of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association said that some 118,500 Indigenous households, or 18.3 per cent, lived in “core housing need,” meaning they lived in homes that stretched them financially, required hefty repairs, or were too small for their families.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported in late June that some 1.6 million homes, or 13.6 per cent of all urban households, were in core housing need in 2016, a figure relatively unchanged from 2015.

Spending from the Liberals’ first budget in 2016 has, as of the end of March, paid for the construction and renovation of 8,786 homes, the government said, with work underway on 5,178 units.

The Liberals’ 2018 budget set aside a combined $900 million over the next decade for housing in Metis and Inuit communities, and a further $600 million over three years for work in First Nations communities.


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14 Responses to “Feds to test limits of Indigenous housing ideas through new contest”

  1. d-mferguson@sympatico.ca'
    Deb Ferguson August 13, 2018 at 1:27 pm #

    I’m glad to see that the government is trying to think outside of the box. There is nothing here that says that native people can’t offer ideas as well. Why not use expertise when it’s available?

  2. beddroc@telus.net'
    Cora Beddows August 8, 2018 at 9:05 pm #

    I wonder if containers could be developed to make, warm, dry, liveable homes that would last decades. Well insulated, finished, lots of double panel windows.

    • cowichanband@gmail.com'
      Sharon August 10, 2018 at 11:37 pm #

      I live in the largest native reserve of Canada, and the homelessness of native and non-native is escalating to great magnitude here, and they are camping along the reserve on the river banks. Children, women, dogs, fathers, all pushed by the river – it looks like the beginning of the Great Depression; don’t believe anything the Government states. Money not making it to Cowichan Reserve; were the largest ghetto of Canada.

  3. rickbraam1@gmail.com'
    Rick August 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm #

    Its not the number of houses, its the quality that has been built. Especially on remote reserves, contracts were put out for multiple houses and the lowest bid chosen. With little to no quality inspections, we have had low quality and horrible construction. Once the contractor is paid, you can’t go back on them.
    How many houses in non-indigenous communities worry about mold, windows that aren’t sealed and fall out in some cases, cracks in basements months after construction, faulty piping, drainage around houses, etc.? Probably not many where trhere are good building inspectors.
    As well there are poor community maintenance programs. Instead of training community members to do basic maintenance, this work is contracted out to people that fly in or drive in. Money may be one issue, but the system of construction and maintenance is another.

  4. Pelder88@hotmail.com'
    Lacey August 7, 2018 at 11:56 pm #

    When are they going to come up with 30 million bucks for Seniors.?? Government can always find money for FN’s.

    • rpnsafework@yahoo.ca'
      Sue August 8, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

      It is their money, not ours! The government has trillions in trust and they continue to control them and mislead the public with it! Get educated and quit buying into the divide! If people would just do their research and stop being so complacent!

      • Suzannemarie25@hotmail.com'
        Shannob August 10, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

        Thank you for doing your research. It is nice to someone who takes the time to understand.

    • rickbraam1@gmail.com'
      Rick August 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm #

      Lacey: Why don’t you go and visit/stay in a First Nations Reserve, learn about the community, the system of “federal care” past and present, the poverty, lack of opportunity, housing, etc., etc. and then make an informed comment.

      • mvfriday@hotmail.com'
        margaret verna friday August 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm #

        There may be a lack of funding in many communities…..but sometimes members are deliberately targeted to not receive any kind of funding …..depending on their political views…if you don’t cozy up to the ruling family at the time…..

    • Suzannemarie25@hotmail.com'
      Shannon August 10, 2018 at 1:51 pm #

      Do your research before you comentioned on the FNs. Your ignorance is what keeps people from kmowing the truth. Perhaps you can start to learn about the truth that your Canadian Government has hidden from the general Euro-Canadian population.

    • Chappy47@hotmail.com'
      Lana August 16, 2018 at 2:22 am #

      Really? Come on. Government been giving money away to all the foreigners and your still complaining about natives. Smh all these foreigners get money homes and treated like special guests in the country. They drive nice cars. Seriously your gonna day shit about FNs lol

  5. phillipwolfe11@gmail.com'
    Phillip August 7, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

    I always liked a clean environment.inside and outside. I grew up in a loghouse with an upstairs with no bedrooms up and down. Drank slough water in the summer and snow water in.the winter. We had an old pot bellied stove for heat and kokum had an old wood stove to cook on..She liked to keep it as clean as possible. Mud it and whitewash it once a year. All that came tumbling down one year and we had to live in a canvas tent for two winters.School bus would pick us up at our tent.no problem. Today 1st nations are given pennies to build houses that should last 20 years. The white politicians in Ottawa should f***in wake up and pay the landlords(1st nations) let them solve their own problems instead of treating us like kids with these stupid contests etc. Maybe 1st nations would their homes liveable.What you think eh?

    • cindypage@hotmail.com'
      Cindy August 12, 2018 at 1:06 am #

      Agree totally stupud contest is what it is

  6. gayle_herbs@hotmail.com'
    Gail August 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm #

    Its a shame when 1 is self sufficient enough to build their own home BUT is refused land space on the first nation they belong too.