A new report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has revealed the shocking truth that Indigenous households in Canada are living in a significantly higher rate of unaffordable and unsustainable housing
The findings of the report confirmed that close to 20 per cent of urban, rural and northern indigenous households in Canada are in unaffordable or unsuitable housing, a rate far above the national average. 124,000 Indigenous households in housing need, including 37,500 who are homeless in a given year. The annual affordability gap for indigenous households is $636M.
“Action speaks louder than words. Indigenous peoples are 11 times more likely to use a shelter. Vancouver East has the largest homeless encampment in the country with 40 percent identify as Indigenous,” said Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East), NDP Critic for Housing. “It is disgraceful how the Liberals fail to follow through with their promise that adequate housing is a basic human right and their empty promise of a dedicated housing strategy for Indigenous people.”
While the Prime Minister claims that ‘the new nation to nation relationship is their most important relationship’, the PBO revealed that only a measly 0.8 percent of the funding in the National Housing Strategy 10-year plan is allocated to indigenous housing programs.
Equally insulting is the fact that funding for new construction under the National Co-investment Fund earmarked to target Indigenous Housing only amounts to 0.5 percent, and 0 percent for other major programs.
Meanwhile, Recovery for All and the CHRA Indigenous Caucus have put forward a detailed plan to eliminate homelessness and most of its calls have been largely ignored. Meaningful action from the Liberals to address the Indigenous housing crisis is long overdue.
The funding gap required for the government to fully address Indigenous housing need ranges between $500 million to $1.4 billion per year.
“The failure of the Liberal government to provide adequate investments into accessible, affordable social housing is costing lives. In my riding of Winnipeg Centre in the last two weeks, two people have died as a result of this government's failure to ensure their right to housing,” stated Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre), NDP Critic for Children, Families, and Social Development.
The NDP is once again demanding immediate action for an Indigenous-led urban, rural and northern housing strategy.