Ontario's off-reserve Aboriginal housing providers offer culturally-appropriate housing, and often support services, to Aboriginal Ontarians living in urban and rural communities. Thirty-five ONPHA member organizations are Aboriginal housing providers, representing 93% of all off-reserve, government-assisted Aboriginal housing units in the Province.
ONPHA's Urban Aboriginal Housing Advisory Committee is a forum for Aboriginal housing providers to meet and discuss the challenges they face in their housing operations, to meet the needs of tenants, and to continue to operate successful housing.
Governments have routinely funded the development of unique
off-reserve housing programs for Aboriginal Ontarians as part of the
spectrum of affordable housing.
This program was developed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(CMHC) as part of the Non-Profit Housing Program. These programs
provided housing assistance in the form of 100% capital financing and a
fixed long-term mortgage interest rate. As a result of lobbying by
Aboriginal communities, 400 units were allocated specifically for
Further lobbying, and the recognition that Aboriginal providers operated their projects differently from other housing providers, led to the establishment of a program specifically mandated to house Aboriginal households. This program is known as the "Urban Native Fully Targeted" (Post 1985) Housing Program.
This mixed income program specifically targeted urban Aboriginal households and included the UNAA funding. It also went further - acknowledging the unique nature of Aboriginal housing and the needs of tenants through additional funding for targeted supports, such as counselling services.
Both components of this program were devolved to Service Managers in 1999 with the original Federal Operating Agreements intact.
Rural and Native Housing Program (RNH)
Developed by CMHC in1974, this program offers rent geared to income rental housing and mortgage subsidies for homeownership (the homeownership component was terminated in 1991).
In 1995, CMHC transferred administrative responsibility for the RNH program to Aboriginal organizations in 14 areas. In 1999, responsibility for the RNH program (and other Federal and cost shared Federal-Provincial programs) was devolved to the Province. Property management agreements between CMHC and the Aboriginal organizations administering the RNH program were transferred to MMAH along with the reporting requirements.
Although other transferred housing programs (excluding co-ops and projects funded under the UNH) were devolved to the municipal level, RNH was kept under the supervision of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
In July 2006, the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Support Services Corporation (OAHSSC) entered into a transition agreement with MMAH to administer the entire RNH portfolio in Ontario in accordance with, and in recognition of, the obligations contained in the Social Housing Agreement, the existing RNH Guidelines and the Property Management Agreements. In April 2009, MMAH transferred full ownership and assets to OAHSSC.
The portfolio consists of almost 1600 single family residential units
and a home ownership component of over 750 units.
$80 million for urban Aboriginal housing is currently being held by the Province in the Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust Fund:
Consultation & allocation process for the $20 million
Beginning in January of 2008 Miziwe Biik Development Corporation, Nishnawbe Homes, and Toronto Council Fire conducted an independent consultation process to identify the housing needs of the Aboriginal community. On November 26th, 2008 the then Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), Jim Watson, and Nancy Martin, the President of Miziwe Biik Development Corporation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would allow the $20 million to be allocated by Miziwe Biik Development Corporation.
Consultation & allocation process for the $60 million
MMAH along with the Métis Nation of Ontario, Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres and Ontario Native Women's Association conducted a separate consultation process in communities outside of the GTA to discuss the allocation of the remaining $60 million. On April 16th, 2009 these organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Provincial government confirming the administration of the funding by the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Support Services Corporation (OAHSSC). The program funding was accessible by the First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities, both urban and rural.
With the support of the Urban Aboriginal Housing Advisory Committee, ONPHA surveyed Aboriginal Housing Providers from across the province to tap into their expertise and housing knowledge. A report of the survey results was submitted to the Ministry in October, 2008.
In 2008, ONPHA established its Urban Aboriginal Housing Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of Aboriginal housing providers from across the Province who are interested in shaping the future of urban Aboriginal housing through research and advocacy. With a guiding principle to speak with a unified voice about Aboriginal issues, the Committee provides a forum for discussion and information sharing.
Projects resulting from the committee will ensure that the experience and expertise of the Aboriginal housing providers will inform the development of future programs and services. The committee meets twice a year.
ONPHA has also established an Aboriginal Housing Listserv as a method for non-committee members to engage with the Aboriginal housing community. If you are an Aboriginal housing provider and you would like to be included on the listserv, please e-mail John Wilson at email@example.com.