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Message from Chief Evans

There continues to be a serious shortage of housing in First Nations communities across the country. The shortage of housing results in severe overcrowding in homes causing manycommunities to be in a state of crisis.

The consequences associated with housing shortages and overcrowding are tremendous, and lead to very serious and multi-faceted social problems related to the health and wellbeing of individuals and families, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, family dysfunction and family breakdown, the spread of illness, education and employment outcomes.

Many families are displaced, as First Nations communities are faced with serious back log in the number of homes needed to accommodate their growing populations. Outdated, crumbling and deteriorating infrastructure and significant repairs are needed to current housing stocks and further add to the tremendous financial burdens placed on communities.

In many cases, multiple families are living in a single family home with only two or three bedrooms and one bathroom. Overcrowding is one of the biggest obstacles to living a healthy way of life.

Many individuals and families have no choice but to leave their communities and move to urban areas in order to seek housing. Transitioning to urban areas has been very difficult for many people, leading to tremendous hardships in leaving their community and family, exposure to negative influences and the lack of support systems.

As leadership, we are faced with the constant challenge in meeting the housing needs of our community. Not only from a financial perspective but also because the current government policies prohibit us to implement the necessary solutions and provide housing options to our community members. The government policies related to shelter allowance are inconsistent and inequitable and need to be amended to allow First Nations to move forward.

As leadership, we have the responsibility to ensure that we provide our membership with adequate, suitable and quality housing so that we can improve the social, health and safety of our communities.

We are calling on the newly elected Federal and Provincial governments to make housing a priority and work with us to address the housing crisis on-reserve.

NHCN has produced a documentary entitled First Nation Full House, a Norway House Cree Nation Special Presentation focused on the shortage of housing, overcrowding and the impact on NHCN. The documentary can be viewed on YouTube.

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