Displaced Attawapiskat residents unsure of return home

Residents of the First Nations community of Attawapiskat are facing an uncertain timeline for returning home after a fire destroyed housing trailers in the community last Friday, displacing about eighty people.

Local MP argues crisis highlights lack of federal housing strategy

Residents of the First Nations community of Attawapiskat are facing an uncertain timeline for returning home after a fire destroyed housing trailers in the community last Friday, displacing about eighty people. 

On Wednesday, 67 people were still in Kapuskasing, Ont., where they had been evacuated over the weekend. Trailers that had been donated by the mining company DeBeers in 2007 after a sewage backup destroyed several houses served as temporary homes for many residents.

Angus: housing strategy needed 

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus argued on Wednesday that the situation in Attawapiskat underlines the need for a long-term housing strategy for the region.

“We have an enormous short-fall of housing on the James Bay Coast,” Angus told the CBC. “We have people who are working and want to rent to own, people who are willing to put down to be able to have a secure future. But we don't have the province at the table or the federal government at the table."

In a statement to the CBC, Bernard Valcourt, the federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, said the federal government is committed to finding sustainable housing solutions in the community.

Valcourt added that federal officials are working with the First Nation to construct four semi-detached homes in Attawapiskat, set to be completed by next fall.  

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