The Reserve – An Evaluation of the ON-Reserve Housing Program

The Reserve offers a one-of-a-kind lifestyle surrounded by lush avocado groves and gorgeous vistas. Enjoy serene parks, resort-style amenities and a 1.3 mile walking trail all within this picturesque neighborhood. Spacious one, two and three bedroom apartment homes with modern upgrades including nine-foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances, energy-efficient lighting and faucet fixtures and a beautiful sunken living room.

The reserves were created as precursors to the modern housing system, with a view towards civilizing Aboriginal peoples and introducing them to agriculture, Christianity and a sedentary way of life based on private property ownership. Today, reserve communities face a myriad of challenges including isolation, high unemployment and poverty rates, limited services, discriminatory legislation and a history of residential schools and assimilation programs like the Sixties Scoop.

Many reserve communities have good-quality housing, but that is more the exception than the rule. In the vast majority of cases, housing conditions are substandard and in a state of disrepair. Many communities are plagued by overcrowding, insufficient water supply, inaccessible public transportation and a lack of services, such as health, education, employment and social supports.

The goal of this evaluation is to examine the design and impact of the ON-Reserve Housing program, and related government initiatives such as proposal-based support, the Ministerial Loan Guarantees and Shelter Allowance components of Income Assistance, as well as the Community Investment Strategy. This will provide a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the current state of on-reserve housing, and identify opportunities for further improvement.

Inadequate housing and other socio-economic conditions on reserves are among the greatest challenges for Indigenous Peoples. They have significant negative impacts on health, education and employment, contributing to the high levels of suicide, substance abuse and domestic violence seen in some communities.

A variety of innovative opportunities for more and better-quality housing are available for First Nations communities. These include grants for more affordable homes and the Ministerial Loan Guarantee to help communities obtain loans to build, buy or renovate their houses.

The housing on reserve is often of poor quality and overcrowded. This is often due to the high birth rate on the reserves and the slow rate of house construction. Overcrowding contributes to a number of social issues including children having trouble in school because they are so tired and sleep deprived. Moisture from overcrowded houses contributes to a range of health concerns, such as mould. reserve residences

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