Chiefs Endorse Housing Strategy, NAN Looks to Canada and Ontario to Address Housing Crisis

TIMMINS, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) will seek support from the governments of Canada and Ontario for a new First Nation-designed strategy endorsed by Chiefs-in-Assembly to address the housing crisis in NAN First Nations and improve the health of community members.

“The NAN Housing Strategy was developed by our members as a solution to the needs of their communities, and our leaders have endorsed it as the path forward,” said Grand Chief Derek Fox. “The Prime Minister has committed to take action on homelessness and provide support for affordable housing. The Premier has made housing a priority and has promised to deliver an aggressive plan by working with the federal government and other partners. We are ready to start immediately and will look for firm commitments from our federal and provincial Treaty partners to prioritize this Strategy and put this plan into action.”

The NAN Housing Strategy is the result of a three-year project focused on creating occupant-focused housing assessments, determining localized housing needs, and developing evidence-based housing action plans and solutions. It includes seven themes of action: 1. Advocating for Inclusive Housing; 2. Addressing the Health Impacts of Housing; 3. Appropriate and Sustainable Design and Materials; 4. Integrated Infrastructure Planning; 5. Alternative Funding Structures; 6. Governance and Policy Reform; and 7. Capacity Development and Training.

A NAN-wide Housing State of Emergency was declared by NAN Chiefs in 2014 following years of deplorable housing conditions that have contributed to severe health issues exacerbated by overcrowding and mold. This crisis was reaffirmed in 2018 with the development of a community-based housing strategy through a research partnership between NAN and Toronto Metropolitan University’s Together Design Lab.

In addition to the Strategy’s long-term goals, work is already underway on the co-design of specialized housing solutions for youth, singles, and community members in need of emergency housing and community members in need of housing with supports.

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in January confirmed the link between the poor health of many First Nations people and the deplorable housing they are forced to live in. It provided recommendations to the federal government to improve housing and infrastructure for better health outcomes for community members.

The NAN Housing Strategy was endorsed by resolution during the 40th Keewaywin Conference (August 9-11) in the traditional territory of Mattagami First Nation.

CMAJ Study Respiratory Morbidity in Indigenous Children in Relation to Housing Conditions in Remote Communities in Northwestern Ontario:

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790

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