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Aboriginals are eligible for all current government housing initiatives including for example, the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) and CMHC’s Housing Renovation Programs.
Governments are also taking measures to address homelessness in Canada. Although the
very nature of homelessness makes it difficult to measure its extent, it is estimated that there
might be 150,000 homeless people in Canada; however, some estimations put the rate as high as double that number. Certain groups are becoming more vulnerable to homelessness, such as the
elderly, women, including young girls, and children. Aboriginal people are overrepresented in the homeless population, especially in larger urban areas.
In partnership with over 61 communities, including Aboriginal communities, the
Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) puts in place partnerships and
structures, including longer-term housing solutions, to combat homelessness and improve the quality of affordable housing for low-income households. Federal funding is invested in finding solutions, as identified by communities in consultation with all levels of government, as well as the private and voluntary sectors. The Strategy recognizes that housing stability is essential to self-sufficiency and other positive life outcomes such as improved health, parenting and employment.
Programs across provinces and territories are geared towards increasing the number and
accessibility of emergency shelters for those in need and developing strategies and frameworks to reduce the need for these resources in the future. Government departments and agencies are
working together to provide a comprehensive strategy at the federal, provincial and territorial level to diminish the homelessness rate in Canada.
An example of a comprehensive strategy is Housing Matters BC, which will provide new
housing units, purchase and renovate buildings across British Columbia for vulnerable
individuals; and expand the Homeless Outreach Program from approximately 30 communities in 2006 to 47 in 2008. This housing approach is based on research, evidence and integrated decision-making, and service delivery. Newfoundland and Labrador's "Profiling at Risk of Housing Affordability" project aims to identify low income sub-populations at risk of housing affordability. The main objective is to develop and utilize small area data to examine trends and
characteristics of low income and risk of housing affordability at the neighbourhood, community, regional and provincial level.
Government initiatives on Aboriginal issues
The Government of Canada recognizes that in order to ensure that Aboriginal peoples
share equally in Canada’s current prosperity and future development, it is necessary to deal fairly with obligations arising from the past while balancing current competing interests in order to strengthen relationships and achieve workable solutions.
Inequalities persist in contemporary Canadian society between Aboriginal people and other
Canadians. These inequalities are reflected in the fact that Aboriginal people in Canada are statistically more likely to be recipients of social assistance, to be unemployed, to be incarcerated, to live in poverty, to face increased health risks and to commit suicide. In partnership with Aboriginal peoples, the Government of Canada is committed to addressing these pressing issues and ensuring an improved quality of life for Aboriginal individuals and groups through a policy agenda focused on five key areas: economic development; education; citizen empowerment and protection of the vulnerable; resolution of land claims and