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The Wagmatcook First Nation continues to be committed to providing community members with quality housing solutions as it moves towards building strong and healthy communities. The Chief & Council are now moving forward to finalizing a housing policy that will be implemented to help provide fair and equitable opportunities for all band members. As many Aboriginal communities across Canada face similar difficulties in being able to provide answers for all of the housing needs that they have, the community of Wagmatcook and its Chief & Council are working hard to understand and address the issues that face families.
At present there are approximately 750 band members in Wagmatcook and about 155 constructed homes in the community. Many families across the Atlantic Region including Wagmatcook still live with varying degrees of housing issues such as overcrowding, mold and multi-generational living in smaller homes just to name a few. This overcrowding is due to an ever growing population factor as well as challenges with adequate funding for housing in First Nation communities across Canada. There is also a growing number of local carpenters that are getting certified (approximately 6-7 now exist) and some of these are Red Seal Certified which means that they can work on the majority of construction sites across Canada. Having this capacity in the community is very important in the greater context of building quality homes that will address issues such as mold and clean air quality for families.
Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC)
CMHC offers a wealth of valuable resources on mold prevention and remediation, as well as indoor air quality. From workshops to fact sheets, we can help you become better informed about housing quality challenges and how to address them.
The following link will direct you to information found on the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation’s website on First Nations Air Quality (involving mold and other substances) and how families can learn more about the program. Press this link for more information on First Nation Housing: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/ab/onre/index.cfm .
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
AANDC does not cover the full cost of housing. The Department does provide various forms of assistance to support the development of on-reserve housing. It is up to the First Nations and their community members to secure other sources of funds to meet their housing needs.
The Government of Canada allocates an annual investment to First Nations for on-reserve housing through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Over the past five years, combined with CMHC’s allocation, this has supported the construction of approximately 1,750 new units, renovations to about 3,100 existing units, capacity development and a number of other housing initiatives across Canada.
Government of Canada also provides funding for on-reserve housing through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
- First Nation On-Reserve Housing Program
- Ministerial Loan Guarantees
- First Nation Market Housing Fund
- Success Stories – Infrastructure and Housing
- Useful Links
- Canada’s Economic Action Plan Housing Funding
Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
National Strategy for First Nations Housing
Resolution 83/2011, Housing as a National Priority, continues previous resolutions that called for the recognition of First Nation Governments to manage and control housing and infrastructure programs from a local, tribal council, Treaty organization, or provincial/territorial organization structure.
In response, the AFN has developed a draft strategy that provides a framework for a new management and delivery structure for housing, to be discussed at the 2012 Annual General Assembly. This strategy will set out a series of general principles and objectives as well as specific commitments to provide direction and a transparent mechanism for measuring success. This is to be achieved with the engagement and consultation with First Nations and their duly mandated organizations at the local, territorial and regional levels. It is to be guided by the AFN Chiefs Committee on Housing & Infrastructure and its Technical Working Group.
A comprehensive National Strategy would include includes all aspects of housing, from social housing and the care and control of band-owned housing assets to individual and private home ownership.
Possible elements of a strategy may include:
- Facilitating the development of a Public Foundation/Non-Profit Corporation that will act as a ‘hub’ to both established and emerging housing entities that will function at the local, territorial and regional levels.
- Creating a mechanism of advice and support for the development of housing entities or ‘Housing Authorities’ that populate this First Nation Institutional Network for Housing.
- Negotiating a new funding mechanism dedicated to the First Nation Institutional Network and work to see the transition of funding for current Government of Canada housing programs, activities and initiatives to this First Nation Institutional Network for Housing.
- Developing appropriate programs, activities and initiatives to meet the housing needs and priorities of First Nations and have them delivered through this First Nation Institutional Network for Housing.
- Supporting the development of regulatory environments necessary for any First Nation to fully exercise its authority in housing.
- Identifying proven options for the means of Operational Control of Housing in First Nations and assisting First Nations in achieving the chosen option.
- Assisting in building First Nation capacities to exercise housing responsibilities successfully and sustainably. The capacities required for success would include social, human, financial and technical elements.
The strategy will recommend a multilateral partnership approach to strengthen relationships and benefit from the sharing of information and best practices. Partnerships could include industry, private sector, professional associations, unions, public foundations, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations.
Housing Assessments in Wagmatcook
Wagmatcook also implemented a review of each home in recent years to assess the housing situation so that the leadership and housing department to better help address some of the short and long term conditions that needed attention.
There are a number of different things that come into play throughout the year when it comes to housing such as repairs, installations, safety within the home and more. The housing program works closely with the social department to ensure that community members are taken care of and that calls are returned in a timely fashion. Home visits will also help to ensure that community members have the opportunity to share their concerns about current housing conditions that they are facing and this helps with addressing those issues.
The Chief & Council understand that there are many families and individuals that are currently on the housing list waiting for home and or other alternative places to live and are aware that solutions are needed and will be working to the best of their abilities to help find these answers for as many as possible considering the resources and funding that they have available at their access.
Should you have further questions please contact:
Mr. Gordie Hart
Director for Housing
His office is open throughout the week from Monday to Friday (9am-4pm).