Community leaders were invited to stand together to spark understanding, support, and action in the prioritization of Indigenous housing in Smithers Oct. 17.
The Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) invited elected officials, municipalities, Indigenous communities, affordable housing providers, and community stakeholders to join in the gathering.
“There is no reconciliation without inclusion and belonging. Indigenous housing offers intention, it honours Indigenous communities, cultures, and values, and these differ between communities,” said Margaret Pfoh, AHMA CEO.
“Today we stand collectively to demonstrate the role Indigenous housing plays in strengthening our communities, supporting individuals and families, and creating a sense of belonging and well-being.”
AHMA’s long-term vision is for every Indigenous community to access and reclaim their inherent rights to housing. This includes supporting members who live away from their home communities.
This event, hosted by the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre created a special opportunity for community leaders to collectively demonstrate the importance of Indigenous community-led housing and to connect over common goals.
“Urban Indigenous people have been in a housing crisis for many years in our communities. We are extremely pleased to see that this critical work is being prioritized. It is our social and cultural responsibility to work in partnership to ensure that all people in our communities have access to affordable housing that supports their holistic well being,” said Annette Morgan, Dze L K’ant executive director.
The leaders gathered at the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Hall to share their experiences, struggles in the housing crisis, perspectives, and optimism in finding a way to walk forward together.
“We recognize there is an urgent need for better housing options for indigenous communities and people, no matter where they live in B.C.,” said Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine. “I’m grateful that AHMA and their partners are bringing people together to share perspectives and look forward to working on our common goals.”