MONTREAL — As part of the celebrations marking the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, NDP MPs Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga) and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou) are calling on the federal government to develop a National Indigenous Housing Strategy. This call echoes the recommendations made last June by the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA). 
“We urgently need to put words into action, and ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ right to housing is respected”, notes Romeo Saganash, NDP critic for Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs. “When we know that urban Indigenous people are 8 times more likely to be homeless than the rest of the population, we come to understand the relevance of creating a specific Indigenous housing strategy. The Liberal government promised to invest in First Nations communities, but we need to remember that half of the Indigenous population in Canada now lives in urban centres.”
“The last budget only committed 225 million dollars over 11 years, or about $20 million per year, for off-reserve Indigenous housing. That amount is far from adequate to meet actual need,” deplored Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, NDP Housing critic. 
“We are hoping to develop a more effective and self-sufficient Indigenous Housing sector, in real partnership with Indigenous communities and the organizations that represent them. It’s high time to establish a true Nation-to-Nation relationship”, adds CHRA Executive Director, Jeff Morrison
It is worth noting that the federal government has committed to releasing a National Housing strategy later this fall. Also, the Prime Minister campaigned on a promise to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He repeated this promise after the campaign, but Canada has yet to adopt it. Article 21 of the Declaration recognizes the right to housing and affirms that States must take effective measures to ensure the sustained improvement of housing issues.