Canada's New Anti-Poverty Plan Aims to 'Transform' the Lives of Indigenous Homeless
Canada’s federal government revealed its long-anticipated anti-poverty plan on Tuesday, stating that it will cut poverty rates in half by 2027–2028 — and it will focus specifically on Indigenous homelessness.
“As you'll see very soon, the investment we're going to make to fight Indigenous homelessness will be very significant,” Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Monday at the national Conference on Ending Homelessness, according to CBC News. “It's going to be transformative for our relationship with Indigenous people on homelessness.”
But how “significant” that investment will be has yet to be announced.
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The Liberal government is currently working with Indigenous groups to decide how to best allocate funding, according to the Canadian Press.
Its new strategy, dubbed Reaching Home, outlines $2.1 billion to be used over the next 10 years to tackle poverty and homelessness.
Indigenous people are disproportionately affected by homelessness in Canada. In urban areas, like Toronto, Indigenous people make up 15% of the homeless population, despite only making up 0.5% of the total population, according to Homeless Hub.
Other stats are even more grim.
In Yellowknife and Whitehorse, for example, Indigenous Peoples made up 90% of the homeless population, according to a report published in 2014.
“Reaching Home will further increase funding to prevent and reduce Indigenous homelessness, and support the delivery of holistic and culturally-appropriate responses to the unique needs of indigenous peoples living in vulnerable conditions, including Indigenous women, youth and mothers with children,” the government press release reads.
Reaching Home is part of the federal government's $40-billion housing strategy. The government has said before that this housing strategy will help the Indigenous population in Canada.
Steve Teekens, the executive director at Na-Me-Res (Native Men's Residence), was encouraged by the national housing strategy announced last year.
“I've been patiently waiting for the Indigenous piece to be announced. They just talked about how $40 billion is going toward a national housing strategy. Great. So much is carved out for the Indigenous piece? When can we expect some sort of announcement, or what are the timelines for that? I haven't heard,” he told CBC.
The new legislation will also set an official poverty line for the first time, created an advisory council and enforce the need to submit annual reports on progress in poverty reduction, according to CP.
The plan looks to reduce 2015’s poverty rates by 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030 — this would see more than 2 million people lifted out of poverty in just a few years, CP reported.