Federal ‘Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge’ to launch this fall

The Government of Canada is making major investments in housing in Indigenous communities to reduce overcrowding, improve building quality, and address housing shortages. At the same time, it is looking for ways to accelerate change by providing opportunities to test new ideas, build partnerships, expand financing options, and invest in the well-being of Indigenous peoples. Yesterday, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced the creation of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge, to be launched in fall 2018.

Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge
Photo Credit: Indigenous Services Canada

The recent announcement follows up on a commitment by the federal government to engage with Indigenous communities to design a challenge specific to their needs and led by Indigenous community leaders. The Ministers announced that the Government of Canada will award a total of $30 million in prize money for new builds over three rounds. The Challenge will fund creative approaches for the design and construction of Indigenous-led home and community innovation projects for First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples living in rural and urban communities.

It builds on the successful launch of the Smart Cities Challenge in fall 2017, which attracted 20 applications representing Indigenous communities or focusing on Indigenous peoples. From start to finish the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge will be led by an Indigenous Steering Committee, composed of seven First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous experts.

Each year, a select number of applicants with proposals that require further development will be recommended by the Indigenous Steering Committee to receive support through an Innovation Lab so they can advance their proposals and compete in a later round of prizes.

“The goal of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge is to support the creativity that exists in Indigenous communities across the country. We want to revive traditional building techniques, train Indigenous youth and create jobs and improve community well-being. Simply put, we want to spark changes that lead to better housing for Indigenous peoples,” said Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services.

All proposals must be led by Indigenous communities or organizations and focus on improving Indigenous community well-being. Emphasis will be placed on designs that can be replicated in other communities, among other criteria. The Challenge will be launched in fall 2018 and the call for proposals will be open until winter 2019.

More information about the Indigenous Homes Innovation Challenge is available via the program’s newly launched website, linked here.

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