EMBARGO until Council ratification vote on Indigenous-led poverty reduction strategy

The Hamilton Executive Directors Aboriginal Coalition (HEDAC) is pleased to announce the support of the City of Hamilton under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, an initiative from the City that will utilize the dividends from the Horizon Utilities merger with Alectra Utilities.

The City of Hamilton has committed to an investment of $10 million over 10 years ($1 million per year) to support poverty reduction strategies that will support individuals and families in staying housed. This investment will directly benefit the Indigenous community of Hamilton. Not only will this investment support some of the most vulnerable citizens in Hamilton, it is a positive move forward in supporting the ethic of reconciliation and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Over the spring and summer of 2017, the HEDAC collaborated with the City to identify how the strategy could directly benefit the community. HEDAC is a not for profit organization comprised of the leadership (Executive Directors) of Indigenous organizations in Hamilton and includes: Native Women’s Centre, Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, Sacajawea Not for Profit Housing, Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board, Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg, De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre and McMaster University- Indigenous student services.

HEDAC’s plan pertaining to the investment will include the repair of up to 40 housing units; support and advocacy to help up to 100 Indigenous persons per year to maintain housing security; prevention of homelessness through emergency supports; youth employment and stability supports for up to 40 additional youth per year; increased services for children and families in the early years including the upper mountain area of Hamilton; increased coordination of access for Indigenous women who have experienced domestic violence; enhanced financial empowerment programming for individuals and; ID clinics for up to 80 Indigenous community members per year to obtain identification required to access financial, health and social supports.

As a result of the investment, the Indigenous Poverty Reduction Strategy reflects a truly community driven approach whereby service delivery to be defined and implemented by a collaborative of Indigenous organizations across the City. Indigenous community members and families will directly benefit through strategic coordination and increased access to services.

HEDAC would like to recognize the City of Hamilton for actively responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. By continuing to build partnerships with the Indigenous community of Hamilton in a manner that values reciprocity and recognizes the expertise of the Indigenous organizations, the City of Hamilton investment in the Indigenous community will help to ‘move the needle’ on homelessness and poverty affecting our most vulnerable community members.

For more information please contact: Josh Dockstator, Vice-President, HEDAC Board of Directors at indigenous.counsellor@mcmaster.ca.

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