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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-03-10 18:33 [p.1920]
Mr. Speaker, we all agree. I am very proud to have helped move the motions at committee to start the process of driving forward an urban, rural and northern indigenous housing strategy to make sure that people that are governed outside the Indian Act, close to 87% in my province but 80% across the country who live outside of the national indigenous organizations governance structures, have their housing needs met. They need to be met now. They needed to have been met years ago.
I am proud to be part of a government that not only passed the national housing strategy, which incorporates the move towards self-directed, self-designed and self-delivered indigenous housing programs in this area but also has started to make profound investments in that very same space.
Our 2016 budget included $564.7 million in new funding over the next three years to address pressing needs in 464 first nations communities. We have also, as part of the 10-year housing strategy and part of the reaching home strategy, for the first time carved out an indigenous stream, which is indigenous-led, indigenous-designed and indigenous-delivered in communities right across this country.
We did something else which is profoundly important. In areas where homelessness is high and the point-in-time counts show a strong indigenous population unfortunately is being over-represented, we have started to convert even the designated communities to indigenous leadership so that indigenous housing providers can provide support for those communities right across the country from coast to coast to coast.
In Vancouver, in B.C.'s Lower Mainland, the community entity that manages the funds for that part of the country and the community advisory board is now being led by indigenous leadership and indigenous housing providers precisely because we recognize their expertise but also their cultural capacity to deliver better services for people that are homeless.
As I said, the government committed in mandate letters to the Minister of Northern Affairs, to the minister that I work for, and also to the minister of indigenous infrastructure to deliver an indigenous-led urban, rural and northen housing strategy. Those dollars will be building upon investments that we have made already as part of the national housing strategy. In fact, $225 million over the last three years has been invested specifically here.
We did one other thing that I am also very proud of and that is we made sure that CMHC stops its practice which it has been conducting over the previous decades of disqualifying indigenous applications as they came forward by saying that the applicant has to go to INAC, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, to get money. All applications, indigenous and non-indigenous, that come forward to serve indigenous communities are now incorporated into the national housing strategy under all of the $55-billion program. We are having real success with that.
We also negotiated accords with the provinces and territories across this country a responsibility for those provincial accords to address indigenous housing in off-reserve areas, including supports to sustain the existing program and existing rental supports that are needed to make and sustain affordable communities for indigenous people. We also made sure that capital dollars were allocated in that area.
The member is correct. This is an area that is going to require this Parliament to act with great deliberation and to make substantial investments.
It is unfortunate that the NDP platform does not mention indigenous housing in urban spaces at all. It also is unfortunate that the three different letters that have been posted by the leader never once mention indigenous housing, not specifically and not intentionally.
I am glad that the member opposite has raised this issue and has driven this issue forward to make sure that her party takes this issue seriously. I look forward to her support at committee and her support of the federal budget and support of the findings that our government will produce to show the way forward.
We can solve this crisis. If we do not solve the crisis of urban, rural and northern homelessness, if we do not have a self-directed fourth pillar in the indigenous housing programs of this country, we will never solve homelessness and we will never achieve reconciliation and we will never achieve the dreams of decolonization that the member talked about.
Our government is committed to achieving this. I am committed to achieving this. I look forward to working with members opposite to make sure the dollars flow, the housing is built and people are cared for.
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