Aboriginal people moving to the city need supports

New report suggests policy fixes, garners huge community support

Aboriginal migration launch crowdThe Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) launched its report, Moving to the City: Housing and Aboriginal Migration to Winnipeg before a packed room at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House on Tuesday.

The report documents the housing problems experienced by Aboriginal people moving to Winnipeg. Poverty, histories of colonialism and cultural differences for people moving to a major city for the first time were found to be major hurdles Aboriginal people need to overcome when they move to Winnipeg.

Approximately 90 people attended the launch with speeches from Kerri Irvin-Ross, the Minister of Housing and Community Development, Josh Brandon, a CCPA researcher and co-author of the report, and Selena Kern, a Housing Transition Counselor from Eagle Urban Transition Centre (EUTC). The large crowd was seen by organizers as an indication of the widespread interest in the topic.

“I was overwhelmed when I walked in and saw the number of people here today,” said Irvin-Ross. “Thank you very much to the researchers, the writers, and for all of you who are going to walk this journey and make Winnipeg a great place for Aboriginal people.”

The report was written in collaboration with Eagle Urban Transition Centre (EUTC), a centre that helps Aboriginal people access services including housing, employment and healthcare when they migrate to Winnipeg. It  based on data and stories of transitional struggles. It proposes several solutions to the problems and challenges many Aboriginal people face when moving from a reserve to a city.

The report makes recommendations, including making more housing available for multi-generational Aboriginal families, making it easier for people moving from reserves to transition to provincially funded services and increasing support for transition services like EUTC.

“We need more projects like this,” said Jason Whitford, EUTC’s program manager. “It’s gonna get worse if it’s not addressed.”

Riley McDonald is a communications intern with CCPA-MB.