First Nation Housing Remains In Crisis Despite The Federal Stimulus Plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2009
(Saskatoon, SK) FSIN Vice-Chief Delbert Wapass says the Federal Government’s much talked about $400 Million stimulus plan should not be mistaken for a housing program. The stimulus package was intended to create jobs and give the sluggish Canadian economy a boost. Vice-Chief Wapass says the $21.3 Million destined to 37 Saskatchewan First Nations over the next two years will help the communities build and repair homes and create some jobs but will not solve the housing crisis.“In Saskatchewan we need at least 6000 new units to solve the housing shortage. We estimate that to be $750 Million to a Billion dollars,” says Vice-Chief Wapass. “What we propose is a housing strategy based on the Treaty Right to Shelter to make these goals attainable.”
Canada’s Economic Action Plan is investing $400 million over two years to support on-reserve housing. Indian Affairs will manage a $150 million program with 37 Saskatchewan First Nations eligible for $21.3 Million. Over the next two years CMHC will manage a $250 Million fund for on-reserve housing and renovations.
“First Nations did not receive consultation from INAC on the criteria needed to qualify for the housing stimulus package,” says Vice-Chief Wapass. “All First Nations are in dire need of housing. However, according to the criteria set forth by INAC and CMHC many First Nations will not be able to access these dollars.”
“Also the CMHC portion is a loan program. It is very misleading when you read, listen and see headlines that First Nations are getting $250 Million for housing when in fact it is a loan program. First Nations will have a limited or no say on how they can spend the money,” adds Vice-Chief Wapass. “When homeowners go to a bank to borrow money they’re not told how they have to spend the loan.”
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
For More Information Please Contact:
Mervin Brass, Executive Director of Communications