The federal government says it’s going provide $103.8 million for the new construction and operational costs of 178 new Indigenous-led shelters and transitional housing across the country.
Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen says the announcement is a crucial step needed to end the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people.
“These new Indigenous shelters and transitional units across the country are a crucial step in addressing the urgent need for safe and culturally appropriate housing for Indigenous women, children, and 2SLGBTQI+ people fleeing family and gender-based violence. By investing in culturally appropriate affordable housing for Indigenous Peoples, we are working hard to improve the quality of life for those who need it most,” says Hussen.
The shelters and transitional homes will be constructed in First Nation communities, Nunavut and in urban areas – offering culturally appropriate support programming for survivors of family and gender-based violence.
Hussen says the investment, “will give Indigenous women, children, and 2SLGBTQIA+ people an opportunity to live in a community that they know and love, to have a safe and stable home, and to have a fresh start in life.”
Money will be provided for a single shelter in British Columbia, one in Alberta, and three in Manitoba.
Leah Gazan, NDP critic for women and gender equality, who recently raised a motion in the House of Commons calling to declare a Canada-wide emergency for missing and murdered Indigenous women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people welcomed today’s announcement but says she wants the money to be spent now.
“We’ve heard announcements from this government before with no action to follow through. The Violence Prevention Strategy was announced in 2020 and only 5 percent has been spent since,” said Gazan in a statement to APTN News.
“Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people shouldn’t have to wait for safety and justice. New Democrats also call on the Liberals to reverse their $150 million cut to women’s shelters and immediately create a Red Dress Alert to save lives.”
The federal government says the money for the shelters and transitional units is part of the $724.1 million allocated during the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for a comprehensive Violence Prevention Strategy. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls final report included a call for justice asking for all governments to support the establishment and funding of shelters and transitional homes.
Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, says the announcement “is just one action of many needed, as we must do more and do more faster to end the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people, and undoing generational harms.”