AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak calls for full implementation of National Encampments Response Plan recommendations

Published: Feb 16, 2024Press Release

February 16, 2024 – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak welcomed the release of the Federal Housing Advocate’s final report of her review of homelessness encampments as a human rights issue.

“First Nations citizens experience homelessness at disproportionate rates across the country,” said National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak. “This is a direct result of colonialism, systemic racism and the ongoing housing and infrastructure gap within in First Nations communities. It is unacceptable that First Nations citizens continue to face homelessness on their own traditional territories and homelands. Forcibly displacing First Nations encampment residents is a violation of their human rights, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The report, released on February 13, 2024, calls on the federal government to work with First Nations to develop a National Encampments Response Plan by August 31, 2024, and to recognize First Nations’ jurisdiction to determine, develop and administer housing and homelessness programs and services.

“First Nations have the right to care for our citizens no matter where they live, and we are uniquely positioned to provide culturally safe housing and social services to our people experiencing homelessness. However, there is a substantial lack of dedicated funding relative to the needs facing our communities and it is incumbent on the federal government to ensure there is dedicated funding for First Nations to provide services for our unhoused relatives.

We urge all levels of government to fully implement the report’s recommendations, and specifically call on the Government of Canada to ensure First Nations are meaningfully involved in co-developing the National Encampments Response Plan.”

As the AFN housing and infrastructure portfolio holder, Newfoundland Regional Chief Brendan Mitchell is also supportive of the report’s recommendations. “The homelessness crisis facing our citizens requires urgent and immediate action. First Nations need dedicated resources to exercise their right to provide wholistic supports to all their citizens,” said Regional Chief Mitchell. “We need the federal government to come to the table with new funding for First Nations to help our people no matter where they live.” The Federal Housing Advocate’s report calls on government to support First Nations in providing culturally appropriate housing and social supports, and to recognize First Nations jurisdiction to control and deliver housing and homelessness services.


The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. 

Contact information:

Jennifer Stern                                                               
Communications Officer                                           
Assembly of First Nations                                                 
(343) 576-8956 (mobile)                                    
[email protected]                                      

Nicole Robertson
Senior Communications Advisor   
AFN National Chief’s Office (NCO)   
(403) 616-4999
[email protected]