Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Responds to $30M Housing Funding Announcement

April 4, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) acknowledges the Budget 2024 announcement made by Premier Wab Kinew and Housing, Addictions, and Homelessness Minister Bernadette Smith regarding a $30-million investment aimed at addressing chronic homelessness. While acknowledging this initiative as potential access to off-reserve housing for urban First Nations Citizens, AMC underscores the necessity for ongoing collaboration and consultation to address the current housing shortages adequately.

“Many First Nations people who live off-reserve in Manitoba are facing homelessness, insecurity, and unaffordable rent,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, “The problem has been worsened by rising inflation and housing costs.”

To address this pressing issue, AMC calls upon the provincial government to develop a First Nations-led Urban Housing Strategy, which should include funding for research on the housing needs of off-reserve citizens and establish a service delivery model for housing programs.

AMC also highlights the success of programs like Fresh Start Housing and New Beginnings, which have secured housing for 70 members in the past fiscal year alone. Part of AMC’s Eagle Urban Transition Centre, these programs offer wrap-around supports tailored to individual needs, including assistance with arrears, access to medical and social services, and securing essential household items. While these programs show promise, AMC stresses the importance of continued support and monitoring to ensure their sustained success in addressing homelessness and housing security among the urban First Nations population.

“With a proper framework, we can meet the needs of those who require access to these vital programs,” continued Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, “We must take a proactive approach and establish a service delivery model for off-reserve housing programs so that we can help individuals and families access the housing they need to thrive.”

While acknowledging the challenges inherent in building social housing units for urban centres across Manitoba the AMC also emphasizes the need for further funding from all levels of government to increase housing stock in First Nations. This would help mitigate the migration of First Nations moving back and forth from urban centres to First Nations due to housing shortages.

The urgency of the housing crisis facing First Nations in Manitoba cannot be overstated. According to a 2021 report by the Assembly of First Nations, over 55,000 new housing units are required, with an additional 80,000 existing units needing repair, amounting to an estimated cost of $44 billion. House construction costs will continue to climb due to inflation, with one standard 3-bedroom family home currently costing approximately $300,000.

Recognizing the magnitude of the issue, AMC is committed to taking action with a willing government to ensure access to safe, affordable housing for all First Nations people in this province; this will ensure there is a shared financial burden and develop inclusive solutions tailored to the unique needs of First Nations.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.