By Julia Magsombol 

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter 

The national vice-chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), says the federal government is failing to meet its housing budget and policy for Indigenous Peoples across the country. 

“I’m disappointed. They’ve been doing this for years,” laments Kim Beaudin. 

He notes that money was allocated for Indigenous housing, but it was not properly spent. 

“The money is not being spent where it should be. You have these police services, Indigenous ones that are completely, chronically underfunded,” he explains. 

Over the last five years, the federal government has spent $3.86 billion building new homes and repairing existing homes in First Nations communities. But the Assembly of First Nations said they needed $44 billion in 2021. It is reported that the number of housing units located in First Nations communities across the country was just under 120,000.

From 2015 to 2016, nearly 21 per cent of those homes needed significant repairs, and 5.6 per cent were required to be replaced. By the year  2021 to 2022, the number of homes needing repairs decreased, while the number of new homes required increased. 

“You got the government talking, saying that they’re going to address these housing issues, and they don’t. It has been going on for years and years. And it doesn’t matter who’s in power, whether Conservatives or Liberals. It just doesn’t seem to matter,” says Beaudin

Some houses on First Nations reserves have mould and require major renovation.

Beaudin says he receives emails from people living on these reserves who are concerned. He adds that many people don’t return to their reserves because of their situation and the lack of housing.

“It’s been an issue off and on reserve for a long time. Nobody in the government knows about it . . . they are slow to react. They’ll pretend they know. They’ll say we have solutions and everything, but they don’t. It’s crazy.” 

Beaudin says it would be ideal to renovate these old houses and build more homes for Indigenous Peoples. 

“We’re not homeless. Canada is supposed to be our home. We just don’t have a place to live in it.” 

Beaudin advises all Indigenous Peoples living on reserves to keep fighting. “These are your rights . . . keep fighting and fighting.” 

For more information on Indigenous housing, read: