Housing is a human right and Friendship Centres have a long history of supporting urban Indigenous families to secure safe and affordable housing. The OFIFC works collaboratively with provincial partners to facilitate affordable housing initiatives in urban Indigenous communities. Our advocacy calls on all governments to prioritize urban Indigenous housing strategies to end homelessness and housing insecurity.
Urban Indigenous housing and homelessness have been left off the government’s policy agenda, despite the fact that urban Indigenous people face egregious rates of homelessness and inadequate housing. This submission sets out the OFIFC’s position on the need for a National Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Strategy.
Despite high rates of Indigenous homelessness in urban communities in Ontario, 14 Friendship Centres across Ontario have no dedicated homelessness program. This paper outlines the dire need to expand and enhance the national Homelessness Partnering Strategy (now Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy) through the Friendship Centre network in Ontario.
The absence of a National Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Strategy has contributed to the ongoing erasure of urban and rural Indigenous communities’ needs in federal policy-making. This submission presents concrete recommendations for legislating the right to housing in Canada that includes and upholds the rights of urban Indigenous people.
On December 11, 2019, a coalition of urban Indigenous housing and service delivery experts including the OFIFC and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, released a statement on the right to housing for urban Indigenous people and the establishment of a National Urban Indigenous Housing Strategy. The Statement outlines five core demands of the federal government in a call to action on urban Indigenous housing.