Inadequate housing and other socio-economic conditions on reserves are among the greatest challenges for Indigenous Peoples. They have significant negative impacts on health, education and employment, contributing to the high levels of suicide, substance abuse and domestic violence seen in some communities.
A variety of innovative opportunities for more and better-quality housing are available for First Nations communities. These include grants for more affordable homes and the Ministerial Loan Guarantee to help communities obtain loans to build, buy or renovate their houses.
The housing on reserve is often of poor quality and overcrowded. This is often due to the high birth rate on the reserves and the slow rate of house construction. Overcrowding contributes to a number of social issues including children having trouble in school because they are so tired and sleep deprived. Moisture from overcrowded houses contributes to a range of health concerns, such as mould.
The conditions of the homes on reserve are also an important factor in why some people choose not to live on the reserves. Many First Nations peoples prefer to live off the reserve and have jobs in Edmonton or Winnipeg, where they can enjoy a better lifestyle. Those who do live on the reserve struggle with high unemployment and low incomes, which can lead to depression and feelings of hopelessness. The lack of economic activity, services and support on reserves leads many to feel like they are being left behind by Canada. reserve residences