October 21, 2019
A United Nations report is highlighting the role “abhorrent” housing conditions play in the poverty and exploitation that Indigenous people face in Canada and around the world.
“(Indigenous people) are more likely to suffer inadequate housing and negative health outcomes as a result, they have disproportionately high rates of homelessness and they are extremely vulnerable to forced evictions, land-grabbing and the effects of climate change.”
Leilani Farha, the UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, noted that housing shortages are severe enough in Canada’s North that some people in Indigenous communities are forced to sleep in shifts.
“There’s 15 people living in a home that’s the size of a trailer, so of course they have to sleep in shifts when there’s only so much room,” she said.
The report also highlights poor water systems on many Canadian reserves.
“In a country with more fresh water than anywhere else in the world, 75 per cent of the reserves in Canada have contaminated water, with communities such as Attawapiskat declaring a state of emergency,” it reads.