Policy impact on Aboriginal housing in TorontoSocial Policy SWF 327 July 4, 2012 Michael ShapcottThe Wellesley Institute
Minority Parliament of 2005 New housing funding, including off-reserve Aboriginal
Minority Parliament of 2006 New housing funding, including off-reserve Aboriginal
Policy challenge: Allocate $20 million in 2005housing funding to Aboriginal housing in TO
Research findings:• Hard-working – trapped in poverty: Aboriginal people work hard and many are highly educated, yet one-in-three households have annual incomes below the poverty line; and less than one-in-five Aboriginal households have annual incomes that would qualify for a conventional mortgage to purchase a low-end-of-market condominium.• Strong values – excluded from culture: Aboriginal people value their culture and understand it has practical and important value in all aspects of their lives, but Aboriginal people often have little or no access to Aboriginal-controlled and Aboriginal-delivered housing and services.• Big dollars spent on housing – poor housing delivered: Aboriginal people contribute tens of millions of dollars annually to the GTA economy in rent, mortgage payments and utility costs, even though almost half of all households report that they pay 50% or more of their income on housing (well above the accepted threshold of 30%). Many Aboriginal households report their housing is over-crowded, unsafe, substandard – or a combination of all three.
• Poor housing has a big cost: One-half of Aboriginal households report that poor housing has led to mental health concerns, and almost the same number say that they cannot afford decent food; one-in-three Aboriginal households cannot afford a telephone; one-in-three households report that inadequate housing has led to violence and breakdowns in marriage; children are doing poorly in school and adults report that they have significant troubles getting and keeping jobs.• Successful Aboriginal organizations often neglected or excluded: Aboriginal housing and service providers in the GTA have a long and successful history of delivering good housing, services and programs in an effective and cost-efficient way, but Aboriginal organizations are often excluded from funding programs or left to compete with non-Aboriginal groups for a small amount of financial and program resources. There are practical and effective models for efficiently delivering Aboriginal housing and services.
Policy option:...the consultation confirmed that there is a support for anAboriginal-controlled institution that is representative of thecommunity, open and transparent. There is an effective andefficient mechanism in the Aboriginal community in the GTA –MiziweBiik Development Corporation (MBDC) – that can deliver theoff-reserve housing trust funding. MBDC is an organization that:∗ respects Aboriginal culture and values∗ operates under MiziweBiik Aboriginal Employment and Training, which has a strong history of financial accountability to the community and all levels of government∗ strengthens the capacity of the Aboriginal community in the GTA∗ provides a solid foundation for future investment, and∗ offers an excellent platform for linking and leveraging housing with a variety of non-housing support and services.
Inequality / precarious housing is driving poor health Toronto Health Profiles
“After 20 years of continuous decline, both inequality and poverty rates have increased rapidly in the past 10 years, now reaching levels above the OECD average.” “In the last 10 years, the rich have been getting richer leaving both middle andpoorer income classes behind. The rich inCanada are particularly rich compared to their counterparts in other countries.” OECD (2008), Growing Unequal? : Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries