Surrey is home to the largest urban Indigenous population in BC, however, the City has far fewer Indigenous housing options compared to other large cities. The lack of affordable housing is one of the key reasons that 37% of Indigenous children in Surrey live in poverty.
Indigenous families face significant housing and related challenges: unaffordability, low availability of larger units for families, and few culturally appropriate housing supports. The City of Surrey needs at least 1,880 units of deeply affordable rental housing for Indigenous households. The number of Indigenous households that need low rent options will continue to increase due to Surrey’s rapid population growth and the rising cost of housing in the region.
“Our goal is to make Surrey a great place to raise an Indigenous child. To do that we need to increase the affordable rent options for our young families.”
Keenan McCarthy, Board Member, Nova Métis Heritage Association and Co-Chair Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee
Currently there are only 270 non-market housing units for Indigenous households in Surrey. Vancouver by comparison has about the same size population and well over 1,400 non-market housing units for Indigenous households.
“With the largest urban Indigenous population in the province, it is imperative that more housing is made available for Indigenous families. The City of Surrey is ready to work with our long-standing partners, BC Housing and CMHC, to make this happen. With an adequate supply of affordable housing, we are ensuring that Indigenous children in Surrey will have a home that is stable and secure.”
Mayor Doug McCallum, City of Surrey
The lack of deeply affordable and culturally relevant housing keeps Indigenous families in poverty. To break the cycle of poverty means that BC Housing and CMHC must work to support indigenous households through all stages of life. Without housing support, youth and young adults are more likely to face barriers to education, employment, and cultural connections.
“Safe affordable housing is a critical factor in creating the stability that Indigenous children need to support their early learning years.”
Lynn Daniels, Director of Instruction, Aboriginal Learning, Surrey Schools and Co-Chair Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee
This is an urgent call to mobilize partners and resources to improve housing and address Indigenous child and youth poverty in Surrey. By working together, we can create the conditions for future generations to thrive.
About the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee:
Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee: is a coalition of organizations that have come together to advocate for the more than 16,000 Indigenous people living in Surrey. The Committee is composed of all Indigenous agencies operating within the city of Surrey.
High Rest Media Photos here: https://surreyindigenousleadership.ca/media