Vice-Chief Kim Jonathan first Indigenous board member of Habitat for Humanity
- EFN Staff | May 17, 2017
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations executive are congratulating Vice-Chief Kim Jonathan for becoming the first Indigenous person appointed to the national board of directors of Habitat for Humanity.
Vice-Chief Jonathan went through a rigorous vetting process to earn the appointment, including a screening, an interview, and submitting an essay outlining why housing is a priority to her on a personal level. She was then selected from a shortlist of candidates and approved for the position at the organization’s general assembly in Kelowna, B.C. this weekend.
“I want to thank Chief Cameron and the Executive for their support despite this not being my portfolio responsibility,” said Vice-Chief Jonathan. “At our initial board meeting we discussed housing for First Nations people and identified it as a necessary first priority. Now we need to see this strategy pushed into action.”
Habitat for Humanity alone is not the solution to the First Nations housing crisis – but it can help provide relief to some First Nations families living in overcrowded or inadequate housing, says Vice-Chief Jonathan.
“We will continue to fight for the Treaty right to shelter, but the deplorable condition of First Nation housing calls on us to find partners at all levels,” she said. “Having a safe and decent place to call home is a basic human right and the foundation of a healthy family and healthy community.”
FSIN housing portfolio holder Vice-Chief Dutch Lerat hopes to see on-reserve housing further developed as a priority for the charitable organization.
Last year Habitat for Humanity completed its first on-reserve build on Flying Dust First Nation, initiated by FSIN Vice-Chief Robert Merasty during his tenure as Chief of Flying Dust. With the help of community volunteers, Habitat built a ten-unit elders lodge. The houses vacated by those elders made room for younger families.
“Projects like the elders’ lodge in Flying Dust show the impact Habitat can have when it partners with First Nations, and now they have a strong advocate at the board level,” said Vice-Chief Lerat.