A severe shortage of housing units is visibly affecting the quality of life among locals in Elsipogtog First Nation.
In a CBC News
report by Tori Weldon, widespread unemployment along with the glacial pace of development are making Elsipogtog housing unable to accommodate the community’s burgeoning population, forcing families to endure overcrowded conditions in decrepit units.
“We have a backlog of about 500 people,” bad councillor Robert Levi said, adding that the spate of social ills, including suicides and a drug search frenzy, that have been plaguing Elsipogtog for some time now could be directly attributed to the horrid living conditions.
While CMHC stated in an email to him that the community has received funds for housing construction, Levi recalled only four new houses having been built in the past five years.
“Because of that you've got more social problems,” he said.
“It's overwhelming, [we're] just bumping elbows,” resident Crystal Levi lamented. Due to the lack of space, her four children sleep on couches situated in her grandmother’s living room, while she rests on a basement mattress.
“There's so many of us here,” she said. “It's so hard living here, I just feel bad for my 15-year-old daughters. We've been moving around so much but I've been writing letters so long.”
“Hopefully I can get a house soon and then I don't know, I want a place to call home.”
The 2016 federal budget set aside $177 million which would be released over a period of two years to address what has been described by the CMHC as the “abysmal” housing situation of First Nations peoples.
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