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Community self-determination can address the Northern housing crisis – IRPP

April 18, 2023

Leadership from Northern communities and a strategy to build homes – not just houses – is needed to break years of federal stop-gap measures.

The federal government has yet to develop a comprehensive housing strategy recognizing the unique, place-based needs of Northern Canada despite the persistence of the longstanding Northern housing crisis.

The crisis is urgent and deeply felt across all aspects of Northern community life but the federal government has responded for decades only with stopgap policy measures. Sporadic federal funding and its management of the downstream effects of long-term underinvestment in housing and homelessness prevention perpetuate the chronic issue in the North.

We are at a critical point where we must ask: What is the end goal of housing policy in Northern and Indigenous communities?

The crisis framing of northern housing policy in Canada has legitimized and been legitimated by an emphasis on metrics such as core housing need and housing needs assessments, as well as the domination of a housing continuum approach to conceptualizing the end goal of housing.

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