Housing, Homelessness and Poverty
According to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”.
Since adequate shelter and standard of living are so fundamental to our health and wellbeing, the United Nations has deemed them to be universal human rights. At ONWA, we acknowledge that understanding the issues in and around Aboriginal housing, homelessness, and poverty is required as many Aboriginal women are the caregivers and caretakers of our children, communities, and our environment.
Housing and income are both social determinants of health; without adequate shelter or standard of living, Aboriginal women and their families’ health and wellbeing will be affected and they will not be able to live their best lives. Lack of adequate, affordable housing or income is a reality for many Aboriginal women across Ontario since Aboriginal women make less money than non-Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men, are more likely to experience homelessness, or are precariously housed.
ONWA aims to empower Aboriginal women across Ontario on these issues that so negatively impact the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of our lives and families. A comprehensive analysis of historical and contemporary events is available to Aboriginal women and their families in the form of fact sheets, briefing notes, and reports.
Through research and analysis, ONWA aims to provide strategic direction, support and advocacy for the ongoing development of safe, affordable, and sustainable housing for Aboriginal women and their families.
Ontario Urban and Rural First Nations, Métis & Inuit Housing Policy Framework (OUR Framework) has now been completed and will be distributed and made available for viewing on our website as soon it comes off the press.
Background: OUR Framework evolves from the Ontario Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust Report, a report that identified a lack of a long-term provincial urban and rural FNMI affordable housing strategy. Throughout 2012, with the collaborative efforts of the housing policy analysts from the Métis Nation of Ontario, Ontario Native Women’s Association, and Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, community engagement sessions were held in the urban centres of Barrie, Fort Frances, London, Midland, North Bay, Ottawa, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timmins. The purpose of these sessions was to develop a FNMI housing policy framework. In addition to capturing the FNMI community’s voices, it highlighted the lack of FNMI specific housing and culturally relevant support services in rural and urban centres, discrimination, migration, and other issues. As such, OUR Framework confirms that FNMI communities are the experts in determining their own housing needs and only they can determine when those needs have been met.