United Native Nations (UNN) wants shelter part of welfare increased - from "The Long Haul", End Legislated Poverty

The United Native Nations Society has written to Moe Sihota, the {then] minister in charge of BC's welfare system and housing, asking for changes that will improve the housing situation of urban and rural Aboriginal people in BC. The UNN is a BC group that provides advocacy and works for the interests of Aboriginal people.

In the January 25 letter, UNN president Viola Thomas says Aboriginal people are "forced to accept living conditions that are too small and below human standards" with faulty heating and plumbing, peeling paint and fungus growing, ill-ventilated rooms. Often people on welfare are forced to pay their rent with food money.

Thomas says that sometimes Aboriginal children are apprehended from their families because of inadequate shelter. There is a chain reaction situation where children end up hungry or parents have to steal food because housing costs are so high.
The UNN wants the provincial government to:

  • pressure the federal government to re-introduce Aboriginal social housing;
  • increase the shelter component of welfare, especially in Vancouver where rents are the highest in Canada; and
  • dialogue with urban/rural Aboriginal communities to address critical issues before negotiating the transfer of housing responsibility from the federal to provincial governments.