I’m live blogging today from an ECOH webinar on research related to Indigenous housing. Dr. Sarah Edwards has been conducting some research for the Métis Nation of Ontario, who are moving towards self-government through Bill C-53, which was just introduced in the House of Commons. They conducted a mixed methods study using a survey with health and housing questions (n=4,162), and focus groups on the links between housing and health (more on her research here).
- When asked about their physical, emotional, spiritual and mental balance, survey respondents said they were in balance some of the time (38%) or none of the time (36%). Most (70%) reported they were in excellent, very good, or good physical health
- Some of the themes that came up in the focus groups were high costs, housing shortages, the high cost of housing repairs, and health issues (e.g. mould in their home). Homes are strongly linked to love, access to recreation and leisure, access to the land
Meghna Brahmachari spoke about the Métis Nation of BC, who want to reduce the percentage of MNBC residents by 50% over five years (more on their research is here). The MNBC did a housing needs survey in 2021, with over 2,000 residents, and supplemented this data with the 2016 and 2021 Census and weight it. Then they estimated the cost of Métis Core Housing Need and used constrained optimization to develop estimates for policy interventions.
Most Métis in BC are not in core housing need–just 12% of households. However, they have low incomes relative to market costs, renters face very different types of need than owners (more likely to live in unaffordable housing rather than inadequate), and the number of Métis in a household increases their housing need. Income assistance and rent supplements were explored as policy options–households that receive income assistance have the same types of housing costs as those who do not, while those that receive rent supplements tend to have lower rents. For those in core housing need, the researchers explored the effect of using a cash transfer of $4,400/yr to address affordability, $8,819/yr for major repairs, and $7,823/yr for the cost of new construction (suitability).
Heidi Bungay of the Native Women’s Association of Canada spoke about developing a sustainable and culturally appropriate housing model/design that could later be defined with designers (see their report here–the image at the top of this post is from p.31). They would like to replicate this model for others who want to build housing for Indigenous women and girls. They did an online survey with 100 respondents and also relied on sharing circles for the Indigenous Rural and Northern Housing Strategy. The model is:
- sustainable (solar technology, insulation, rain collection, greenhouse, sustainable materials)
- affordable (750 sq. ft., one storey, 2BR, electric heat supplementing solar)
- accessible (ramps, open floor plan, spacious doorways, grab bars)
- culturally appropriate (crafting/gathering area, storage, small circular wood stoves, ventilation, sound-proof rooms and thick doors for kids to study or sleep, access to nature)
Interesting to see these Indigenous organizations conducting their own research on their needs, using both cultural expertise and academic research skills in health and public policy.