July 24, 2018
This provides a quick update on HIC's work. HIC is winding up its first round of engagement outreach with leaders and managers responsible for First Nations housing & infrastructure in British Columbia. HIC expected to have a summary of those sessions done in June but decided to add additional engagement sessions to provide better coverage of the province – this summary report is being finalized now.
More than 15 engagement sessions have been held in communities across the province as well as several workshop conferences, since outreach began at the start of the year, with additional engagement sessions being completed this month.
What We Heard
Council Members have gained excellent local perspectives into procedures, services and programs and valuable input into what a new housing and infrastructure authority should look like. Here’s a highlight of the some of the key findings.
There is widespread support for the transition from government to First Nations control with many seeing the transition as an exciting opportunity. Others see the transition as a daunting but necessary challenge.
Improving housing outcomes with reduced housing bureaucracy are important goals—making sure maximum dollars reach communities for construction and renovations while ensuring general support services such as training are maintained.
Keeping housing dollars in the community—using housing to build economies is another important goal.
Most participants do not want to see devolution of existing programs or merely housing reform: they want to see new appropriate programs developed and delivered through new mechanisms.
Participants want assurances that adequate funding will be ensured to cover both the transition process and the institution when it is developed.
Participants want to be part of the transition—they want their voices heard and their ideas used.
Participants want access to new financing mechanisms.
Regional flexibility is important although there are many variations on how participants see the new institution dealing with regional differences.
Participants speak about how to get recognition for the legacy of the past, how to hold government accountable for the destructive force housing has been in First Nations communities, how to get enough funding to make the necessary changes in the future.
HIC will be releasing a comprehensive engagement summary report later in August, which will detail the process, findings and recommendations learned in the first round of engagement outreach. HIC is using the engagement findings to support the development of three delivery model options, which will be presented to First Nations leaders and community housing managers for consideration. HIC will hold a second round of engagement outreach – regional focus groups and forums – in early fall. The preferred design option will then be presented to First Nations leadership and the federal government for final approval.
HIC has also been meeting with representatives from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and Canada Mortgage and Housing (CHHC). HIC has completed a Memorandum of Understanding with ISC that will commit the parties to collaborative development of the housing and infrastructure authority. HIC is also exploring options for the Government of British Columbia and CMHC to partner in the MOU.