2020/06/19 | News – Indigenous

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 face greater struggles to find affordable housing, Indigenous Women are even more at risk. The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women underlines that sad reality. At the Centre, we believe that adequate housing is key to improving living conditions for vulnerable populations. As board member Margaret Pfoh said: “Housing is the panacea of any crisis. If we don’t give safe places for people to shelter, how will they ever begin to address their own needs? They won’t be able to.”

Indigenous Housing Rights in Ontario

“We are excited to support the rapid and dynamic evolution of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Service (OAHS), which is why the Centre just awarded them a grant,” says Stéphan Corriveau, Executive Director at the Centre. “This money will allow the OAHS Board of Directors to address current challenges and formulate a five-year-strategic plan that will best support clients in the years to come at a meeting with Board members and senior staff. The strategic planning session will have a significant impact regarding provincial housing issues and spillover effects onto other sectorial partners’ activities.”

More specifically, two strategies are to be developed that are likely to have a large impact on the community housing sector in Ontario, especially for Indigenous groups and families:
• A tenant engagement and communication strategy
• An environmental stewardship strategy, meeting practices of responsible land use and protection of the natural environment

The Centre is looking forward to sharing more images and the detailed plan with you in the weeks to come—stay tuned!

Learn more about the organization

OAHS has been founded in 1994 to offer safe and affordable off-reserve housing in one of Canada’s largest provinces. Their programs support Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit families with low or moderate income everywhere in Ontario. For example, the First Nation, Inuit and Métis Urban and Rural (FIMUR) Rental Program provides geared-to-income rental rates in strategic locations to promote a holistic lifestyle. Another program offered by OAHS is the FIMUR Assisted Homeowner Program and Repair Program. Through a forgivable loan of up to $30,000, Indigenous families looking to purchase an off-reserve home can make a dream come true.

OAHS collaborates closely with 40 Indigenous Housing providers to offer services that specifically meet the needs of Indigenous communities. Those services include referral for local shelters, crisis centres, financial counselling, as well as cultural and community centres or a job board and educational scholarships. Roughly 3,400 existing units serve around 10,000 tenants.

Our latest stories

The path to reconciliation starts with education and awareness

The path to reconciliation starts with education and awareness

The Centre’s commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is something close to our hearts. It is enshrined among our key priorities, and it is reflected in our support of initiatives that address the housing needs of Indigenous communities.  

Homelessness is a woman’s world, too, but a very hidden one, study shows

Homelessness is a woman’s world, too, but a very hidden one, study shows

Women and gender-diverse people often experience homelessness in a way that leaves them both undercounted and underrepresented in the search for solutions. And the leading cause, a new survey indicates, is relationship break-ups that push them and their children into housing precarity.

Shouting from the rooftops: A podcast about social and community housing

Shouting from the rooftops: A podcast about social and community housing

Tenants in two Quebec regions are using the power of podcasts to reach out to their fellow renters — and the public — to inform them about their rights and about the role of social and community housing in providing affordable and accessible places to live. With four episodes already aired, Nos voix pour des toits is empowering tenants and giving them an important voice.

Editorial: Housing finds a home in Trudeau cabinet

Editorial: Housing finds a home in Trudeau cabinet

The appointment of Ahmed Hussen as Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion gives us hope in the federal government’s aspiration to make a difference. But what exactly does that mean? Stakeholders involved in the community-housing sector, including the Centre’s executive director, Stéphan Corriveau, and independent consultant Steve Pomeroy reflect on the implications of the change.

Winnipeg co-op hoping to be passive-housing prototype

Winnipeg co-op hoping to be passive-housing prototype

Afraid they could be pushed out of their changing neighbourhood, a group of neighbours organized and formed their own cooperative. A shared passion for environmentally friendly design lay the groundwork for a net-zero, and socially inclusive, housing ecosystem.

Milton Park: the battle isn’t over

Milton Park: the battle isn’t over

Montreal’s Milton Park sector has a long history of mobilizing citizens against the development of large private projects and in favour of social and community housing. And the battle isn’t over. The Milton Park Citizens’ Committee has continued to rally the populace, these days primarily over the redevelopment of the former Royal Victoria and Hôtel-Dieu hospitals.