Discrimination is a major factor in the many obstacles facing Aboriginal people who seek affordable housing in Sudbury, a university professor says.

Native People of Sudbury Development Corporation

The Native People of Sudbury Development Corporation says the mortgages on most of its 100+ units will mature in the next 3 - 5 years. That means the operating agreements for rent subsidies will end and tenants will be forced to pay market rates or move. (Google Street View)

Dr. Emily Faries, a professor of indigenous studies whose home community is Moosoneesaid she has seen family and friends experience discrimination when they look for apartments in Sudbury.

“When you get there, for some places, it’s a different story," she said. "All of a sudden the apartment has been taken. It’s really obvious."

Many First Nations people come to Sudbury to look for education and job opportunities, Faries said. She is also part of a group researching homelessness in the city.

Dwindling programs

At the Native People of Sudbury Development Corporation, the executive director said it’s tough for native people to find housing.

“Sometimes, people in the Aboriginal community encounter discrimination in the open housing market which makes it difficult for them to obtain sustainable housing,” James King-Seguin said.

The non-profit operates 96 subsidized units in Sudbury for First Nations tenants, but King-Seguin​ added he’s worried about losing that, as the federal government is ending its contract to subsidize one of the duplexes next month.

He said there are no other programs to assist those tenants.

“We could potentially charge what’s called low-end-of-market rent for those units, but the rents are over $900,” he said.

He doesn’t think the families can afford that, putting the future of seven people, including children, in jeopardy.

A contract covering 20 units of housing with the federal government is set to expire in about five years, he said.