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First Nation Housing

Improving Living Conditions for Indigenous People in Canada

Indigenous people in Canada often face significant housing challenges compared to the general population. To help improve living conditions for Indigenous people, CMHC works closely with First Nations communities, other federal partners, provinces and territories and Indigenous organizations.

Creating Tangible, Lasting Solutions in First Nations Communities

Through CMHC the federal government provides funding each year to address housing needs in First Nation communities. CMHC’s funding supports the construction of new rental housing, the renovation of existing homes, ongoing subsidies for existing rental social housing and an investment in capacity building for First Nations people living on-reserve.

CMHC’s On-Reserve Non-Profit Housing Program assists First Nations in the construction, purchase and rehabilitation, and administration of suitable, adequate and affordable rental housing in First Nations communities. CMHC provides a subsidy to the project to assist with its financing and operation.

First Nations communities that are eligible to receive funding under the Non-Profit Housing Program may also have access to CMHC’s Direct Lending Program, which provides low-cost loans to federally assisted social housing sponsors seeking to finance or refinance a project. As well, Project Development Funding loans may be available to assist with the initial costs of proposal development for these projects.

Mold in the Home: Indoor Air Quality Resources for First Nations – Home Occupants’ Guide, Housing Managers’ Guide, Guide to Mold-Resistant Renovations and New Construction CMHC offers a wealth of valuable resources on mold prevention and remediation, as well as indoor air quality.

CMHC offers a suite of renovation programs on-reserve to First Nations communities, including:

When new housing is built in a community with overcrowded housing, there is a positive ripple effect that spreads throughout the community.

A portion of the funding provided by CMHC is also invested in capacity building. CMHC collaborates with INAC and First Nations communities across Canada to facilitate training and provide resources to help First Nations communities achieve their housing objectives and acquire the skills and knowledge to design, build, inspect and manage housing on-reserve.

CMHC also encourages market-based housing solutions on-reserve. CMHC offers mortgage loan insurance options to help First Nation members on-reserve buy, build or renovate homes. Support may also be available through the First Nations Market Housing Fund (FNMHF), an independent trust established with $300 million in federal funding provided through CMHC. The FNMHF is an innovative approach to giving First Nations people living on-reserve access to private market lending for homeownership — similar to those living off reserve — while respecting the communal nature of land ownership on-reserve.

Housing Assistance for Indigenous People Living Off-Reserve

Off-reserve, the vast majority of federal housing investments are delivered by provinces and territories. Indigenous people living off-reserve — be they First Nations, Inuit or Métis — have the same access to this funding as do other Canadians living off-reserve.

Each year, the Government of Canada, through CMHC, provides funding to support the housing needs of Indigenous households living off-reserve. Indigenous households living off-reserve also have access to federal funding under other housing programs delivered by the provinces and territories.

Indigenous housing providers off-reserve also have access to CMHC’s Affordable Housing Centre, which works with the private, public and non-profit sectors to develop affordable housing solutions that do not require ongoing federal assistance. Support may be provided in the form of Proposal Development Funding and/or Seed Funding to assist in getting projects started. Existing Indigenous housing providers off-reserve also have access to the Direct Lending Program for federally assisted social housing projects.

In recognition of the distinctive needs of Nunavut, the Government of Canada has invested $100 million, over two years, to support new affordable housing in the territory. This funding is being delivered by the Government of Nunavut through the Investment in Affordable Housing.

As well, CMHC has supported Habitat for Humanity in their efforts to explore ways to make the Habitat homeownership model available to more Indigenous people. CMHC is the founding National Partner for Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Indigenous Housing Program.

For More Information

For more information about CMHC and how it makes a difference in the lives of Indigenous people, call 1-800-668-2642.

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