Oct 22, 2018
Habitat for Humanity Canada has long understood the essential role that adequate housing plays in the well-being of a community, which is why Habitat Canada launched the Indigenous Housing Partnerships in 2007. Since then, Habitat Canada, along with local Habitats across the country, have worked closely with Indigenous communities to help improve the living conditions of Indigenous families in both urban areas and on Traditional Territories. The success of this initiative is rooted in partnerships as local Habitats and Indigenous communities work together to find culturally appropriate solutions to some of the severe housing issues Indigenous peoples face.
“Housing conditions for Indigenous people are often much worse off than those conditions that (most Canadians) enjoy today, whether we live in a city or outside of a city,” says Peter De Barros, Vice President of Government and Indigenous Affairs at Habitat Canada. “Habitat’s Indigenous Housing Partnership was launched specifically with the intent of trying to make a difference to Indigenous communities in trying to create more affordable housing through our affordable homeownership model.”
Two young families, led by single moms, spent the summer of 2018 working alongside other volunteers and watching their Habitat homes take shape as part of a partnership between the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward-Hastings on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in southern Ontario.
Future Habitat homeowner Amy and her two children, Cameron and Kaylen, say this house will be life changing. They are understandably excited and anxious to move in. Five-year-old Cameron is most excited to get a sink so he can help his mom wash the dishes.
Amy, Cameron and Kaylen will be next-door neighbours to April and her family. April and her teenaged children live with her parents while they wait for their Habitat home. Currently, they’re all “crammed into a three-bedroom house. We have a makeshift bedroom for my son – so, he really doesn’t have a bedroom.”
Chief Donald Maracle represents the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. He says this project moved forward thanks in part to the leadership of Bob Clute, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward-Hastings, and the Band Council.
“I’m happy to see that the needs of our people are being addressed,” says Chief Maracle. “The Habitat for Humanity program with the corporate sponsorship helps reduce the cost of a house and achieves an affordable mortgage payment for that family. It’s addressing a need in the community and that need is in a lot of First Nations communities.”
Across Canada, Habitat has helped 191 families access affordable homeownership through the Indigenous Housing Partnership, including 41 on First Nations, Métis Settlements, and Traditional Territories. Habitat Canada has set a goal to partner with more than 300 Indigenous families and annually provide 200 Indigenous youth and women with skills training opportunities by 2020.
Learn more about Habitat Canada’s Indigenous Housing Partnership by visiting habitat.ca/IHP.