Achieving a decent standard of living is a major challenge for many First Nations peoples, especially on reserve. A number of issues can affect quality of life, including poorly constructed homes that are not suited to the environment, overcrowding and health concerns (such as mould), the remote location of reserve residences, and difficulties with finding employment or accessing services.
In an effort to improve conditions on reserves, the government has tried a number of initiatives over the years. These include formula-based funding, proposal-based support and various programs aimed at working around limitations stemming from the Indian Act.
While a few communities have adequate housing, overall the situation remains challenging. The high birth rate in some communities creates a severe shortage of space, leading to overcrowding and health issues. Houses are often ill-fitting and not designed for the environment, while the lack of adequate water infrastructure results in ongoing problems such as mould.
In addition, a significant percentage of people living on reserves are off-reserve, often as a result of poor living conditions on reserve. Many of these individuals have chosen to live off-reserve for a better quality of life and easier access to jobs, education and social opportunities. This is a serious concern for First Nations and the government, as it can negatively impact the wellbeing of communities and the country as a whole. In a post at Indigenous Corporate Training, 8 Things You Need To Know About On-Reserve Housing takes an in-depth look at the current issues facing on-reserve housing. reserve residences