Published by Sault This Week on Jun 26, 2023 

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is accepting applications from its members for units in its new affordable housing project in Sault Ste. Marie’s west end.

To be opened gradually over the next year, 20 new two-bedroom townhouses will be rented for $1,055 per month plus utilities, well below market rates.

The MNO’s Sault Ste. Marie Housing Development Pilot Project came as a result of the organization’s 2021 Housing Needs Assessment, which demonstrated that the Sault has a high rate of Métis citizens living with low incomes.

Mitch Case, MNO Region 4 Councilor, told Sault This Week, “The Housing Needs Assessment identified that Métis Nation of Ontario Region 4, which includes the Sault, has the highest proportion of Métis citizens with low and moderate household incomes at a total of 49.9 percent.

“Region 7, which includes Barrie and Midland, the MNO region with the highest Métis citizen population, has the second-highest level with 49.1 percent. Other regions with considerable rates of citizens with income below $40,000 are Region 5 at 25.3 percent, three at 24.5 percent, and nine at 24.4 percent.”

The MNO is working on housing projects in Midland and Toronto, and hopes to develop more housing elsewhere in Ontario in the future.
The MNO conducted the Housing Needs Assessment to accomplish three main goals: to collect data to inform current and projected housing plans and programming; to improve understanding of the needs of Ontario Métis citizens and set targets to meet the needs; and to establish a baseline to better understand the outcomes of any ongoing and future projects, Case said.

“MNO also conducted focus groups prior to the Needs Assessment, which revealed that access to safe, affordable, and adequate housing continues to be a pressing need in Métis communities across Ontario, particularly for young parents, 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, singles, youth, victims of crimes, unhoused persons, persons with disabilities, and elders,” added Case.

The MNO entered into a partnership with Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services and Ruscio Construction in July 2021 to launch the Sault housing development. The $7-million project is the MNO’s first venture into offering affordable rental housing.

“Our government plans to learn from the development of this project in order to replicate further housing opportunities in Métis communities across Ontario,” said Case. “We will consider this project a success if we can establish long-term, stable tenancies for Métis citizens at affordable rates.”

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Photo: Justin Marchand, Mitch Case (MNO Region 4 Councilor), Margaret Froh (President of MNO), and Joanne Meyer (Chief Operating Officer of MNO).