New budget money to address 'abysmal' First Nations housing, says CMHC
Federal housing authority to address 'unique needs of housing in the North,' says CEO
The head of the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation says new money announced in the federal budget will help the housing authority tackle some major issues with sub-standard housing in Northern and First Nations communities.
"For the first time in a long time, we are trying to signal that the unique needs of housing in the North need different programming," said CMHC CEO Evan Siddall, speaking to the Yukon and Whitehorse Chambers of Commerce on Monday.
"It's crowding, state-of-repair, and affordability."
The federal budget allocated up to $177 million over two years, to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing initiative: $8 million will go to Yukon, $12 million to the Northwest Territories and $76.7 million to Nunavut.
The remaining funds will be spent to address housing in Nunavik ($50 million), the Inuvialuit Settlement Region ($15 million) and Nunatsiavut ($15 million).
Overall, the federal budget proposes $2.3 billion in new spending to make housing more affordable for Canadians, with $739 million of that set aside for First Nations, Inuit and Northern housing.
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"The state of the housing stock is abysmal," in First Nations communities, Siddall said. "The fact it exists in a country like ours is something we should be ashamed of."
Siddall said the CMHC is now "starting conversations" with stakeholders, to determine the best way to spend the new money and develop a housing strategy for the country.
"We want to listen and develop policy from what we hear," he said.
"Some of our old programs are just out-dated, for the need."