COVID-19 highlights housing needs in northern Manitoba First Nation | CBC News

A First Nation chief in northern Manitoba says COVID-19 has highlighted the urgency of his neighborhood’s housing wants. His feedback got here because the federal authorities on Wednesday put out a name for housing options within the north.

“This COVID has actually uncovered homelessness for our individuals,” stated David Monias, chief of Pimicikamak Cree Nation.  “We did not notice how many individuals are homeless. It simply does not present, as a result of so a lot of our individuals, our households and associates are taking these individuals in, to forestall them from sleeping outdoors.

However now, he stated, “when [people] step out, they’re scared that you’re going to deliver COVID again, so you haven’t any place to remain.” 

The neighborhood, often known as Cross Lake, is grieving three kids, ages 2, 13 and 17, who have been killed in a home fireplace — a tragedy that some say additionally factors to the want for housing assist.

On Wednesday, Canada’s Minister of Housing and Variety and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen and Minister of Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal, introduced the federal authorities was investing $80 million in funding for “Northern Entry,” a program designed to provide you with provide chain options for Northern and distant housing.

The funding is the third spherical of the federal government’s “Housing Provide Problem,” which invitations proposals for options that may assist break down housing provide chain points, and in flip, present much-needed housing for Indigenous and northern communities throughout Canada.

Many find yourself couch-surfing in overcrowded houses

Pimicikamak Cree Nation — a neighborhood of 8,500, about 530 kilometres north of Winnipeg — has been hit arduous by COVID-19. Earlier this month, the neighborhood stated 750 individuals have been isolating throughout an outbreak that led to 4 hospitalizations and one dying. And it continues to be averaging 8-10 new circumstances per day.

The Nation is in want of 1,000 houses, and Monias stated many individuals experiencing homelessness find yourself couch-surfing in overcrowded houses, which makes self-isolating troublesome. 

In January, Indigenous Companies Canada stated Cross Lake was receiving $4.38 million for non permanent isolation lodging, that would come with the acquisition, supply, set up and furnishing of 16 Prepared-to-Transfer buildings, in addition to a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility.

The neighborhood had utilized for 100 houses by means of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Company’s Speedy Housing Initiative prior to now and was denied twice, Monias stated.

‘Not going to make a dent’

When requested concerning the housing state of affairs in Pimicikamak Wednesday, Minister Hussen stated that “the necessity continues to be there and my understanding is that there are nonetheless many different communities which might be nonetheless in want of federal authorities housing assist.”

However the chief of Black River First Nation, which is 120 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, stated the funding is not prone to be sufficient, to assist communities in want. Black River has about 900 individuals residing on reserve, and is brief about 100 houses, stated Chief Sheldon Kent.

“Eighty million [dollars] is just not going to make a dent as a result of the houses are so overcrowded, so small,” Kent stated. “There’s a number of infrastructure issues with the homes.”

The Minister of Northern Affairs, Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface -Saint Very important) stated on Wednesday that there have been housing investments made in Indigenous communities in Manitoba, however there may be nonetheless work to be performed. (Radio-Canada)

Vandal stated that there have been housing investments made in Manitoba, however that the necessity continues to be nice. 

“We are going to proceed to work as a complete of presidency to advance the housing that is wanted and be sure that it is constructed,” stated Vandal.

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