Published on: September 16, 2021 by Global News

This is the first federal election in which housing for urban Indigenous peoples has received a distinct set of promises in multiple party platforms, but Indigenous housing advocates remain concerned the commitments fall short of what’s needed to meaningfully address the crisis.

Nearly 80 per cent of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada live off-reserve, and according to Justin Marchand, they make up more than 90 per cent or more of the population experiencing homelessness in a handful of cities, like Ontario’s Timmins and Sioux Lookout.

“So you can see there in terms of context, the level of commitment we’re going to need if Indigenous issues, if housing is important,” said Marchand, executive director of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services and chair of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association’s (CHRA) Indigenous caucus.

“We really did a lot of hard work for the federal government,” Marchand said. “What we’re looking for what we have been looking for is a partner.”

Over the years, Marchand said Indigenous advocates, housing providers and organizations — including the CHRA’s Indigenous caucus — have poured countless time, energy and resources into providing elected officials with a path forward on housing. These platforms are a step in the “right direction,” he explained, but the plans lack sufficient detail.

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