Sault Ste. Marie – The goal of providing safe, affordable housing for Indigenous people in the community of Baawating, also known as Sault Ste. Marie, has been a shared mission amongst local providers Neech-ke-Wehn Homes Inc. and Niwaakai’iganaanind Aboriginal Housing, and the locally-founded provincial provider Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS).
Recognizing that common goal, Neech-ke-Wehn Homes and Niwaakai’iganaanind Aboriginal Housing have come together with OAHS to continue to sustain and grow that goal in our community. As of (date), OAHS will amalgamate with Neech-ke-Wehn and Niwaakai’iganaanind by taking ownership of their 126 units in the Baawating area to ensure the continuity of safe, affordable and Indigenous-led housing services for the people and tenants they will collectively serve.
Neech-ke-Wehn Homes and Niwaakai’iganaanind Aboriginal Housing have been in the Baawating community since 1982, and will continue their work as local Urban Indigenous Housing providers in the area in collaboration with OAHS. Carolyn Harrington, a founding member and Board Chair for both housing providers says, “Our community ties, skills in service provision, and friendship have grown through the years; as well as our close relationship with OAHS.”
Sylvia Maracle, Board Chair of OAHS, is excited about the partnership. “Urban Indigenous Housing and the provision of related services is successful when administered by Urban Indigenous organizations. The collaboration between Neech-ke-Wehn Homes, Niwaakai’iganaanind Aboriginal Housing and Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services is a great example of community-based organizations coming together to enhance long-term services for the people we serve.”
OAHS, Neech-ke-Wehn Homes, and Niwaakai’iganaanind Aboriginal Housing have been in partnerships before, and this endeavour will only enhance their respectful relationship and collaboration.
We know that at least 37% of the people experiencing homelessness in Sault Ste. Marie are Indigenous despite 12% of the population identifying as Indigenous. We look forward to working with the City of Sault Ste. Marie on strategies to reduce and eliminate this disparity in Housing outcomes for Indigenous people living in Sault Ste. Marie.
In partnership, OAHS, Neech-ke-Wehn Homes, and Niwaakai’iganaanind Aboriginal Housing are thrilled to serve existing tenants, to serve future tenants and for the health and well-being of Indigenous people living in Baawating, Sault Ste. Marie.