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  • The deadline to apply to the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative program is August 1, 2019.

    The deadline to apply to the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative program is August 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 13 April 2019

The improvement of Indigenous housing across Canada had been assigned federal priority but the quality of available housing, especially in northern communities, remains low.

Some 24 Canadians of First Nation, Inuit or Metis Nation heritage are set to benefit from the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative program which is expected to run from 2020 through to 2023.

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The two dozen beneficiaries will each be awarded up to $350,000 (about US$262,000) in first-stage financial support to develop ideas which are developed in accordance to traditional and serviceable Indigenous modalities.

“This initiative goes beyond existing housing programs, and emphasizes community priorities, innovative ideas and new partnerships. It also supports the refinement of proposals and concepts that have yet to be fully developed. Through a process known as the Accelerator, promising projects will secure the partners or services needed to succeed,” Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan said.

The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative reportedly will operate from the perspective that the best solutions come from those who live the problem every day, according to a Cabin Radio report.

“The Government of Canada is determined to identify and support effective, Indigenous-led solutions to housing issues and to accelerate effective change. That is why the Initiative aims to accelerate effective change by inspiring and harnessing Indigenous innovation and knowledge,” O’Regan explained.

As such, each potential applicant will be assessed using six focus areas as guidelines, according to the housing initiative’s authority.

The areas are as follows: Traditional building styles and techniques; using the home for empowerment, capacity building and support for local businesses; support for vulnerable populations; culturally-inspired urban spaces for First Nation, Inuit and Metis Nation people; safety, security, and accessibility; and energy independence and efficiency.

The Liberal government remarked that it had invested "more than $2.5 billion (some US$1.9 billion) in housing investments in Indigenous communities since 2016" Thursday.

Additionally, representatives of First Nation, Inuit or Metis Nation government; as well as Indigenous representatives of a First Nation, Inuit or Metis Nation- owned and operated private or not-for-profit entity are eligible to apply for the benefit.

“The Initiative is also part of the Government of Canada’s larger, sustained effort to reduce overcrowding, improve building quality, and address housing shortages in Indigenous communities,” O’Regan added.

The improvement of Indigenous housing across Canada had been assigned federal priority but the quality of available housing, especially in northern communities, remains low.

"The lack of suitable and affordable housing is a major concern in Canada’s northernmost locales, leading to serious health and safety concerns like tuberculosis, mental health problems, and respiratory infections," a 2017 Senate committee report stated. 

The deadline to apply to the program is August 1, 2019.


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