A National Plan to Address Aboriginal Housing


The National Aboriginal Housing Association/Association Nationale d'Habitation Autochone
(NAHA/ANHA) was created in 1993 as a membership-based organization representing nonreserve
Aboriginal housing and shelter providers across Canada. The current focus of NAHA is
on advocating for predictable and sustainable funding from the federal government to preserve
the existing urban native housing stock and add sufficient additional dedicated stock to respond
to unmet and growing housing need among Aboriginal households living off reserve.
NAHA strongly believes that the federal government’s fiduciary responsibility to Aboriginal
persons applies to all Aboriginal persons regardless of whether they live on or off reserve.
Accordingly, NAHA has prepared this call for action to advocate to the federal government for
the establishment of a Non-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust as a funding mechanism to
respond to the disproportionately large level of housing need among Canada’s non-reserve
Aboriginal population.
Three-quarters of the Aboriginal population lives off reserve, but with the exception of the onetime
off-reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust, which is now expiring, there has been no funding to
address the housing needs of this population.
The small existing stock of social housing (totaling just over 10,000 units nationally), developed
prior to 1994 in partnership with Aboriginal communities is reaching the end of operating
agreements. Many of these existing properties will no longer be viable and will no longer be able
to provide affordable housing to the Aboriginal population. Renewing and extending operating
subsidies and investing in capital improvements can help to extend the life of these assets and
preserve long-term affordability.
The incidence of housing need among the non-reserve Aboriginal population is over 20%
compared to 12.4% among non-Aboriginal people.
Aboriginal people are disproportionately represented among the homeless.
At a minimum, NAHA calls on the federal government to help NAHA redress these disparities
and reduce the overall incidence of housing need to a level no higher than that among the non-
Aboriginal population.
Examining existing housing need and the experience to date of Aboriginal Housing providers,
this call for action identifies 5 targets to be pursued over the next decade:
1. Prevent further growth in housing need: As the non reserve population continues to grow
stem the growth in need by providing assistance to 1,000 new households annually;
2. Reduce and equalize core housing need: To reduce Aboriginal need below 12.5% of the
non reserve population requires provision of 3,000 dwellings annually (combination of
new construction, acquisition and rental assistance);
3. Preserve and improve the existing social housing stock: 1,000 dwellings improved
NAHA Plan for Action
4. Reduce Aboriginal homelessness: create 1,000 new transitional and supportive housing
spaces with ongoing support services;
5. Increase the non-reserve Aboriginal home-ownership rate (54%, in 2006) to match that of
the non-Aboriginal population (68%): provide assisted to 4,000 households annually to
access affordable ownership.
Aboriginal housing providers have been unable to successfully compete in mainstream funding
competitions to secure necessary funding for Aboriginal housing off reserve.
There is a need to strengthen and expand capacity in the non-Reserve Aboriginal housing
community. This can be best achieved by providing the Aboriginal community with the
resources, responsibility and accountability to provide and manage Aboriginal housing.
In accordance with the principles of Aboriginal control over Aboriginal housing and
accountability by all parties, NAHA calls on the federal government to extend and make
permanent the off-reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust.
NAHA further calls on the federal government to appoint a board of Trustees with Aboriginal
status and background and expertise in housing to direct the allocation of funds across regions
and to manage the investment of these funds to achieve the targets established in this plan.
Initially the Trust should be funded at $100 million per year, gradually ramping up to annual
allocation of $386 million as NAHA and the Trustees develop capacity and demonstrate results
from the investments. 

Publication date: 
Jun 2009
National Aboriginal Housing Association/ Association Nationale d’ Habitation Autochtone
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