The need for more housing is urgent, particularly in Indigenous communities. Already, 12% of Canadians are unable to find housing that they can afford or that meets their needs, but for Indigenous households, that number is 18%. And urgent needs require innovative solutions like modular housing.
The Cree Nation received $17.4 million in funding through the Projects Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative to deploy modular housing projects across Quebec. The result will be 55 new homes built quickly in nine Cree Nation communities, to be inhabited by elders and residents with disabilities.
The communities of Eastmain, Nemaska, OujeBougoumou, Waskaganish, Waswanipi, Wemindji and Whapmagoostui will each have five new homes once construction is complete, while the larger communities in the region, Chisasibi and Mistissini, will receive 10 new homes each.
Modular housing is an innovative, energy-efficient solution to building affordable homes quickly. This type of housing is manufactured in factory-controlled conditions and then brought to the building site, either in sections or as a whole, for installation and finishing. The indoor manufacturing process offers multiple cost-saving advantages and is particularly suitable for Indigenous and Northern housing and remote communities.
Like other regions in Canada, the Cree Nation is dealing with the impacts of increasing homelessness and housing need. These challenges have been deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it clear that affordable housing is key to recovery in regions across the country.
The Rapid Housing Initiative was developed in part to alleviate the pressures of the pandemic on Canadians. It is centred on a human rights-based approach to housing that includes the principles of non-discrimination, inclusion, participation and accountability.
This new funding through the Initiative complements the Cree Nation’s existing efforts to meet urgent housing needs by building more than 2,000 new homes.