The Community Housing Transformation Centre’s staff began 2022 with a renewed zeal to act on our organization’s commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. In our January newsletter, we invited other community housing providers, housing co-operatives or community-led organizations working with tenants to join us in learning about First Nations, Inuit and Métis People.
News – Indigenous
Indigenous communities across Canada often face critical housing shortages and the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland are no exception. The Flat Bay Band’s No’kmaw Village Tenants Strategy helps people with lived experience craft strategic housing plans that will allow more Mi’kmaq to return home.
The Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Housing Society, founded by the Squamish Nation Council, has an ambitious goal of providing every member of their community with affordable and culturally appropriate housing. A first project will be launched shortly, and others are already in preparation.
A study of why Indigenous residents in a Calgary non-profit represent nearly half of “negative exits” (while only 10% of tenants) shows that isolation and stereotyping contribute to a sense of alienation.
Being a housing manager is rewarding, but not for the faint-hearted. And for those working on reserve, it can be a lonely career path—something the First Nations Housing Professionals Association hopes to remedy. Since 2019, it has been working to professionalize this career path and offer its support to housing professionals across the country.
We recently sat down with Margaret Pfoh, who is Tsimshian from the Eagle Clan of the Gitga’at First Nation, to talk about her thoughts on Indigenous homelessness. Margaret joined the non-profit housing sector 25 years ago and has been the CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) for three years. She also sits on the Community Housing Transformation Centre board of directors. As we near the end of National Indigenous History Month, we wanted to share a few more of her observations with our readers in this edited transcript of our interview.
This month, the Centre’s newsletter pays tribute to National Indigenous Peoples Day, which occurs on June 21, the Summer Solstice. This year marks the 25th anniversary of its celebration in Canada. And June is also National Indigenous History Month. To mark the occasion, we would like to tip our hat to the Indigenous organizations that have entrusted us with their projects.
For Indigenous populations, the concept of homelessness is much broader than the simple lack of shelter—it encompasses the alienation inherent in three centuries of being uprooted from their cultures and communities.
When it comes to housing, Indigenous realities are often ignored or misunderstood in the western culture, even in advocacy programs like Rent Smart, which aims to train and empower tenants. The Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary is reconciling the two worlds by adapting Rent Smart tenancy training to embrace Indigenous culture and values.