Indigenous peoples are long overdue for urgently needed housing in safe, secure environments where they can thrive. Living rough, dealing with drug addictions, mental health issues, women fleeing violence, Elders in need of care. We must step forward and address the current challenges to help those in need in urban, rural and northern environments across the country.
What is NICHI?
NICHI is the vehicle through which the funding will flow to Indigenous housing providers to address the needs of the over 80 per cent of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples living away. NICHI upholds and advances housing as a human right for all Indigenous peoples living away from their home First Nations communities in urban, rural and northern communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. NICHI ensures federal funding equitably and transparently reaches Indigenous housing providers. By helping Indigenous housing providers with funding, NICHI is bridging communities and creating partnerships.
Indigenous peoples, as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), have the right, without discrimination, to improve their economic and social conditions, including housing (UNDRIP Article 21); the right to housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them, and administer such programmes through their own institutions (UNDRIP Article 23), and; to maintain and strengthen their distinct social and cultural institutions (UNDRIP Article 5).
What does the acronym NICHI stand for?
National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Incorporated. NICHI believes in collaboration and openness and is committed to working with all who genuinely want to help Indigenous people advance, grow and thrive. NICHI is a big tent, not preferential.
What are NICHI’s principles?
NICHI abides by the following principles:
- Respect for each other and upholding self-determination and Indigenous sovereignty
- Through the development of culturally-appropriate housing and services, support the retention and revitalization of diverse cultures through traditions, ways of knowing and being, and respect for the land;
- To be respectful of each other and of all life; and
- To ensure that housing is provided to all URN Indigenous peoples on an equitable and as needed basis, in an Indigenous holistic manner.
What regions does NICHI serve?
NICHI is a national organization no regional preference or priority. It supports the entire spectrum of urban, rural and northern housing providers, recognizing that each region faces unique challenges.
Why does NICHI exist?
NICHI was formed because the model of services and funding designed and deployed for Indigenous peoples by government perpetuates the suppression created through colonialism. NICHI is founded on a For Indigenous By Indigenous (FIBI) approach. NICHI recognizes that without transparency, equity, and culturally relevant wrap around services, it’s impossible to reverse the damage and hardship forced on urban, rural and northern Indigenous peoples.
Are there other organizations like NICHI?
While there are some provincial similar organizations, NICHI is uniquely positioned to provide support from coast to coast to coast advocating for housing providers on a national level, ensuring equality and transparency through federal government funding.
Is NICHI new?
NICHI was officially incorporated on 22 Dececmber, 2022. It was the outcome of the efforts of the Canadian Housing Renewal Association Indigenous Caucus which existed for 13 years bringing together Indigenous housing experts (each with decades of experience) from across the country.
What type of projects does NICHI support?
NICHI does not measure success in the old government way of “heads in beds”. We’re looking for wholistic projects that look at overall wellness and health from an Indigenous point of view. We know that without connection to community, culture, supports and services, the individual will continue to be at risk of not realising the the future they deserve.
Does an organization need to be a NICHI member to acquire funding?
No. Any Indigenous-led organization or organization committed to lifting Indigenous people through housing is eligible for support. Once NICHI’s organizational and operational logistics are addressed, NICHI will establish regular contact and newsletter updates for members. Membership is free and voluntary and strengthens community.
What is the role of various organizations that are part of NICHI?
Regardless of whether you’re a housing provider or housing service provider, you can be a supporter and part of the broader Indigenous housing network.
How are housing projects selected for funding?
NICHI has brought together an objective, unbiased Program Selections Advisory Council (PSAC)to create selection framework. Selection is based on most urgent and unmet needs. NICHI board of directors are not involved in the selection process.
Why is this unique and historic?
For the first time ever the federal government has relinquished control of building housing and placed it in Indigenous peoples’ hands. This is the first time in Canada that control, design and development of a funding program has been turned over to an Indigenous organization. Allocation and funding control is For Indigenous By Indigenous.
What is FIBI and why is NICHI different to government?
Indigenous housing must include a cultural component. FIBI is the solution. While FIBI is a new concept to some, others have been using the expression, but still need to know what it looks like from an Indigenous housing perspective.
NICHI is willing to bring its unique and distinct voice to work with government as partners and co-developers. No longer does the government need to ask us what we think. We will stand together and tell them how we’ll deliver housing in an Indigenous way.
How does the allocation for funding work?
An Program Selection Advisory Council (PSAC) of trusted Indigenous housing experts from across the country holding various expertise and perspectives will advise on setting appropriate criteria, funding amounts and review guidelines for each of the program priority areas, recognizing the limited short-term funding available to meet urgent and unmet housing need.
How much funding is available to address urban, rural and northern housing projects?
Federal Budget 2022 has allocated $300 million towards addressing these urgent and unmet housing needs of which $281.5 million has been secured for NICHI to deliver over fiscal years 2023/2024 and 2024/2025.
How much of the funding will go to Indigenous Housing Projects?
100 per cent. Operational funding is from a separate allocation to address operational requirements and finalize an allocation model to provide housing funding to eligible organizations spread over the same period.
What is the call-out for process for projects?
NICHI will form a Project Selection Advisory Council (PSAC) of trusted Indigenous housing experts from across the country holding various expertise and perspectives to advise on setting appropriate criteria, funding amounts and review guidelines for each of the program priority areas. They will be persons who do not have a vested interest in any project under their review and will be required to declare/recuse themselves for any conflict of interest. The PSAC will review all applications received and make recommendations to the NICHI Board of Directors thereby ensuring a fair and equitable process with regional reach and representation has been achieved. Funding will be considered against the project selection criteria developed by the PSAC recognizing the priority objectives of the initiative to address the urgent and unmet housing needs of Indigenous people living away from their home community acknowledging the limited, short-term funding available.
When will the call-out for projects go out?
We hope call-out for projects in need will go out in early September, and formal selection and announcement in early October.
What is the selection process?
The PSAC is responsible for developing the criteria for the program, designing the review process and creating the analysis/scoring system through which the recommended Expressions of Need will be identified. The PSAC will have this responsibility without NICHI intervening. NICHI will however, provide the PSAC with an overview of the program, the priority for projects to address urgent and unmet needs, the requirement to find a fair and equitable representation of projects from across Canada as well as stress the need to ensure the projects will achieve success not just through the creation of units but through the provision of services and supports that enable long-term results.
What is the process for sharing information about the application and selection process?
Once criteria and selection process is established in mid-late August, we will circulate this important information through the NICHI website, social media and direct outreach across the country to the Indigenous housing network.
How can I learn more?
Follow NICHI on Twitter @NICHI_housing, on Facebook National Indigenous Housing Collaborative Incorporated – NICHI, on LinkedIn NICHI (National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Inc.)