The Fisher River Cree Nation has always taken a strong position that housing is a treaty right and except for programs allowing for the payment of shelter allowances, rent has not been charged to their members residing on the reserve. Recent government policies, programs and funding arrangements, however, indicate a significant movement towards implementation of community wide rental regimes and promotion of homeownership options which could have an impact on the current administration of housing programs. A need was recognized to revisit these policies to ensure that they reflect the current needs, customs and values of the community.
This process began with two community meetings held in November 2006, facilitated by Turtle Island Associates, to determine the direction the membership wanted to take with respect to the establishment of housing policies and a housing authority. Another community meeting was held in the spring of 2007 to discuss the “What we Heard Report”, and to request community participation in a Housing Working Group. A housing working group was formed to review the existing draft housing policy, other first nations housing policies, current and potential programs, selection criteria’s for new homes and renovations and the roles and responsibilities of housing authorities. The two main objectives of the Working Group were to create a comprehensive community based housing policy manual based on fairness and equal access for all community members and to move towards a Housing Authority model for implementation of the policy and housing programs. Realization of these objectives will allow the Cree Nation to more efficiently respond to the housing needs of the community.
Fisher River Cree Nation is striving to promote and develop long term community plans and policies for housing. Some of the benefits associated with the Fisher River Cree Nation Housing Policy Development and Long Term Planning include:
- i.Greater economic stability for the community – as more housing dollars can be maintained within the community.
- ii.Job Creation, skills development and business opportunities for community members.
- iii.Better use of resources – both financial and human.
- iv.Upgrading of the existing stock – improving occupant health and safety.
- v.Increased durability of new and existing housing – extending the life span of housing in the community.
- vi.Providing community members with a sense of pride in the homes.
- vii.Replacing the short term focus with long term fair, stable housing policies and procedures.
- viii.Empowering community members around a common goal.
- ix.Greater sensitivity to environmental issues in the community.
- x.An opportunity to rethink long term land use planning.
Mandate from Chief and Council
The Fisher River Cree Nation Housing Authority is a standing Authority of Council on housing. The Housing Authority is responsible for drafting housing policies and programs regarding new construction, maintenance, repairs, rental units, tenant selection and associated infrastructure. It must also recommend budgets and changes for the First Nation Housing Policy and Program including a transparent appeal process. It is the regulatory body which ensures the implementation of its policy.
The Housing Authority will assume operational control of the housing programs; however, all decisions will be subject to final ratification by the Chief and Council in order that the accountability remains with Chief and Council and in turn to the Cree Nation membership.
Housing Authority Members
Stewart Cochrane, Violet Sinclair, Pam Lapensee, Fred G. Sinclair and Stephen Murdock.
Candace Garson | Housing Manager
Cyndi Asham | Housing Assistant
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Box 367, Koostatak, MB, R0C 1S0
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Fax: (204) 645-2745