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Ryerson University School of Urban & Regional Planning

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Housing Strategy

Across Nishnawbe Aski Nation it is understood that the ongoing shortage and inadequacy of housing is negatively impacting individual and community well-being. Existing assessments of housing are conducted using national-level indicators not relevant to the unique cultural needs and lived experience of Nishnawbe Aski Nation members. By not measuring appropriate indicators, proposed solutions do not address those issues, values and goals most critical to communities. In order to create meaningful change in the housing system— including design, governance, planning and the built environment— it is important that Nishnawbe Aski Nation and its member First Nations possess high-quality information as well as have the skills and capacity to guide their housing programs.

 

Shifting towards an occupant-focused, value-driven assessment of housing needs and solutions, The Nishnawbe Aski Nation Housing Strategy proposes a path forward for creating community self-determination in housing systems. High-quality data, rooted in local priorities will allow for communities, Tribal Councils and Nishnawbe Aski Nation to better determine the needs of its members. Understanding localized issues, needs and goals will inform governance and design that is appropriate and unique to communities with the objective of building houses and community to meet existing and future need.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation response to the First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy

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The First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy must move beyond creating minimally acceptable housing and community infrastructure.  Housing as a universal human right must support individual and community well-being, allowing First Nations, with government partnership, to develop institutions which deliver appropriate, safe and healthy homes to all community members on- and off-reserve.

The recommendations made throughout this report address how a First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy could create an occupant-focused, community-led housing system. The objective of these recommendations, and the currently under development Nishnawbe Aski Nation Housing Strategy, is to develop housing and community infrastructure supportive of individual and community wellness. To achieve this goal recommendations have been made for changes to governance structures, planning processes, funding mechanisms, community participation and community infrastructure development with a recognition that capacity development initiatives are critical in a period of transition to locally controlled housing institutions.

Recommendations

  1. Shift control of housing and infrastructure program design and decision making to localized authorities

  2. Support capacity development and training of local housing managers and develop a peer-support network to maximize potential success

  3. Support localized authorities in developing occupant-focused community housing and infrastructure plans

  4. Use a multi-year funding model to create predictability to support local planning and eliminate unnecessary deadlines and administrative burdens on First Nations

  5. Reassess Maximum Unit Price and geographic multipliers to fairly represent the true cost of housing in northern and remote communities

  6. Ensure funding models support all stages of the building process including: design, procurement, management, materials, labour, maintenance and evaluation

  7. Consider combining minor and major capital programming to support integrated housing and infrastructure planning 

  8. Ensure that a range of housing solutions are supported meeting the unique needs of diverse demographic groups across regions and both on- and off-reserve

  9. Support the development of a continuum of housing both on- and off-reserve targeted to reduce and eliminate homelessness

  10. Treat housing as a social determinant of health, affecting the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of people 

  11. Create meaningful pathways for community involvement in the design and planning process by including training and engagement in funding models 

  12. Support the creation of community-led housing designs to meet the climatic, geographic and cultural needs of each First Nation 

  13. Develop a specialized building code for northern First Nations 

  14. Support capacity development and training in the transition to local control across all aspects of the housing system including: management, construction, maintenance, renovation, finance and other aspects of housing 

  15. Create in-community experiential education programs 

  16. Establish a scholarship program with pathways towards further education in housing related fields including: architecture, engineering, design and planning 

  17. Integrate housing and community infrastructure planning to create livable communities. Community infrastructure includes: community, cultural, health, resource, sports and recreation and economic assets that support the safe and efficient delivery of community services, programs, activities and interests. 

  18. Ensure housing investment is met with required hard and soft infrastructure investments 

  19. Create sustainable and resilient communities through the protection and integration of natural features 

  20. Develop improved education, health and social services in support of community well-being

Newsletters

Health Transformation Newsletter - February 2019

Youth Gathering Newsletter - March 2019

Environment, Climate Change & Housing Symposium Newsletter - April 2019 [Coming Soon]

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