Liberals to outline long-term Indigenous housing plan in budget, sources say

OTTAWA — Indigenous communities will find themselves with a long-term funding commitment in next week’s federal budget worth hundreds of millions of dollars to address the most acute housing situation in the country, say sources familiar with the measure.

The housing shortage in Indigenous communities has meant that homes are often overcrowded and in desperate need of repairs — a combination that also has health consequences.

The Liberals have promised unique housing strategies for Inuit, Metis and First Nations communities to go along with the 10-year, $225-million plan unveiled last year to fund groups that help house Indigenous Peoples off-reserve.

The strategies would be distinct from the national housing strategy, which calls for $40 billion in promised federal and expected provincial spending on new units and a new housing supplement.

Sources with knowledge of the government’s plans for the budget, speaking on condition of anonymity about details not yet made public, say the government will move first on long-term funding plans for Inuit and Metis housing, where consultations are more advanced and the logistics of providing funding is simpler.

The budget is also expected to signal a shorter-term plan — in the range of three to five years — for First Nations housing as all sides finalize consultations on a long-term plan.

The funding would build upon and be similar to last year’s spending pledge of $300 million over 11 years for housing in the North, which went to territorial governments.

This time, however, the government would provide funds directly to individual band councils, building on recent Liberal promises to “advance Indigenous self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government,” such as the Canada-Metis Nation Accord signed last April.

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