A necessary step towards housing for all

For thousands of years, Indigenous Peoples found ways to live symbiotically as part of the ecosystem located on what is today named Canada. Their occupation of the territory was managed according to values that regarded land as a resource to be respected in order to be sustainable for itself and all its inhabitants.

In that system, the land welcomed the people and, in return for this hospitality, those living on and from it had the shared responsibility to protect that relationship, thus ensuring their own survival as well as that of future generations.

When the first Europeans came to this territory, Indigenous Peoples did not particularly welcome nor resent their arrival. It was merely the introduction of one more actor in a space already shared between many groups.

What changed with this new group is the vision that the land, instead of being something you respected and shared, became something to be owned and traded. This paradigm change in the relationships between the territory and the people was neither hoped, desired, discussed, negotiated, nor agreed upon by Indigenous Peoples.

In essence, the forced imposition of a new type of relationship between people as well as the management of the land by a foreign group for its sole profit is the definition of colonialism. Colonialism is a system that establishes every relationship, would it be economic, cultural or social, to be advantageous to the colonial agent and detrimental to the Indigenous one.

The Community Housing Transformation Centre acknowledges those hundreds of years of systematic unbalanced and unfair relationships as the primary source and driver of the ever-increasing housing crisis Indigenous individuals, communities and nations are facing.

The Centre is convinced that the notion of community housing, meaning homes collectively owned and managed to answer the needs and rights of all to be sheltered appropriately in return of a contribution (financial and social) established in accordance with their means, is largely inspired by values and knowledge attuned to the Indigenous traditions and understanding of the world.

As such, the Centre is convinced that championing community housing is one of the paths toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and the construction of a sustainable social and economic model based on respect, trust, cooperation and collaboration between and toward individuals, communities, peoples and the land. When properly implemented, community housing is an empowering tool to achieve one’s rights, capacities and hopes, while strengthening the whole of community, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Based on that analysis, the Centre recognizes that the colonization of the said territory over the past 500 years has been carried out through a process marked by systematic practices of banditry, violence, contempt, predation, discrimination, racism and aggression against Indigenous individuals, peoples and nations, including the Inuit and Métis. We firmly believe that colonization and its harmful effects will continue as long as Canadian society, its institutions and the population in general, does not recognize this state of affairs and neglects to carry out acts of reparation and reconciliation commensurate with this abuse. As an organization working for the full realization of the right to housing for all, it is obvious to us that this right cannot be achieved without special intervention to correct the situation created by the systemic denial of the rights of Indigenous Peoples of this land.

In addition, we affirm our hope and ambition that Canadian society will recognize and facilitate leadership, ownership and appropriation by the Indigenous Peoples themselves of the tools and actions leading to the respect of their rights and aspirations. Finally, we are convinced that these gestures are a prerequisite for the accomplishment of the right to housing for all, including by other groups facing discrimination such as linguistic minorities, racialized people, women, LGBTQ+ and people living with disability.

Upon those assertions and ambitions, the Centre commits to:

  • Promote the criticality of reconciliation within and outside the Centre
  • Focus on and respond to Calls to Action related to Indigenous Peoples
  • Engage and support Indigenous-led and/or managed housing providers and support their transformation agendas
  • Create tools and training to support community housing providers in reconciliation efforts.

Learn about News and Awarded Projects that relate to

Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-operative Feasibility Study

Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-operative Feasibility Study

“We are pleased to announce we have awarded $39,983 to Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-operative to undertake a feasibility study assessing the need for support to sustain Indigenous housing in London, Ontario,” says Stéphan Corriveau,ED of the Community Housing Transformation Centre.

Capacity Building for Success in Meeting Community Needs

Capacity Building for Success in Meeting Community Needs

Originally serving the small community of Mission, Mamele’awt Qweesome Housing provides housing and support services for people in the Fraser Valley in a way that ensures tenant safety, empowers self-determination and the honouring of robust agreements. Founded in 1987 to address housing shortages in Mission and the surrounding area, MQHS’ commitment to sustainability is notable: it currently has 244 units of affordable housing within 30 properties in their housing portfolio.

Increasing Social Inclusion and Tenant Engagement in PEI

Increasing Social Inclusion and Tenant Engagement in PEI

Although not a panacea to the quandary, the Centre is happy to announce new project funding to assist community members with tenant support through the Nanegkam Housing Corporation. Its Indigenous Tenant Support Initiative (ITSI) is a step forward to empowering Indigenous tenants, arming them with the knowledge, tools, and support to stave off illegal renovictions, informing them of their rights and responsibilities, while providing life skill development assistance.

Beyond Reconciliation, Indigenization is Key

Beyond Reconciliation, Indigenization is Key

In the shared culture manifesto, a focus is given to the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Grandfathers that provide insight into the values held by the organization: honesty, wisdom, courage, humility, love, respect and trust.

Namerind: Truth and Reconciliation in Action

Namerind: Truth and Reconciliation in Action

In 2007 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was established to facilitate, “reconciliation among former students, their families, their communities and all Canadians.” This was the outcome of the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history—known as The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement—which sought to recognize the damage inflicted to approximately 86,000 Indigenous Peoples who were forcefully enrolled as children in residential schools.

Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Housing Society Organizational Capacity

Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Housing Society Organizational Capacity

Founded in 2019, the Hiy̓ám ta Housing Society has the mandate to develop 1000 new affordable rental homes over the next 10 years for Squamish Nation people and the wider community. Given these ambitious goals, the Society is currently in the start-up phase and requires additional capacity building, team building and community engagement activities to successfully start to plan and implement its goals to develop affordable rental housing on 6 potential on-reserve sites.

Angela Marston on Becoming a Project Reviewer

Angela Marston on Becoming a Project Reviewer

Angela Marston is an artist located in BC. She holds a B.A. in Visual Arts and First Nations Studies, and finishing a Master in Organizational and Business Psychology. She is the Director of Indigenous Relations at Innovations in Health Society, and a Senior...

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Service and Indigenous Housing

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Service and Indigenous Housing

Indigenous housing: Urgent Need for Systemic Changes Leilani Farha, UN Former rapporteur on adequate housing, called the 2019 UN rapport on Indigenous Housing an important “wake-up call” demanding immediate action from the Canadian government. While women generally...

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