Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative

Back to all challenges
challenge banner


Webinars with experts are currently being planned. Stay tuned for notices on dates. Submit your questions to experts at

Do you have an innovative housing idea for rural, urban or remote Indigenous communities?

Apply for the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative!

Message from the Indigenous Steering Committee

Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiatve Steeting Committee
From left to right: Sean Willy, Will Goodon, Pamela Glode-Desrochers, Marcel Lawson-Swain, Dawn Madahbee Leach. Terry Audla is not pictured.

We are honoured to lead this important initiative. We agreed to participate because we share a passion for community service. We recognize that while this initiative cannot address all housing needs, it can generate valuable new ideas about new ways to raise capital, and to design, build and maintain homes that meet the specific needs of Indigenous communities. This is about supporting great ideas from our communities.

The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative is based on a simple yet powerful idea: that the best solutions come from those who live the problem every day. Residents of Indigenous communities understand the housing-related challenges they face. The Initiative aims to tap into this understanding and inspire Indigenous peoples to propose and develop effective solutions. We believe that your ideas can and will make a difference.

To be eligible for funding, ideas must relate to housing in some way, and they must come from and serve an Indigenous community. There are no other requirements. We will fund ideas that come from all Indigenous communities— First Nation, Inuit, Métis Nation—of all sizes and in all regions of the country—urban, rural, remote, on and off reserve. Our goal is to find ways to make it easier for Indigenous peoples to live in safe, appropriate homes. We are all excited by the opportunity to make progress on an important issue and humbled to serve Indigenous communities across Canada. We look forward to receiving your ideas. Together, we can make a difference.

Message from the Minister of Indigenous Services

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services

I am pleased to help launch the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative.

The Initiative adopts new approaches in several significant ways: it is led by a Steering Committee comprised of accomplished Indigenous professionals with relevant expertise. This initiative goes beyond existing housing programs, and emphasizes community priorities, innovative ideas and new partnerships. It also supports the refinement of proposals and concepts that have yet to be fully developed. Through a process known as the Accelerator, promising projects will secure the partners or services needed to succeed.

The Initiative is also part of the Government of Canada’s larger, sustained effort to reduce overcrowding, improve building quality, and address housing shortages in Indigenous communities. We have made significant investments in Indigenous and Northern housing - more than $2.5 billion since 2016.

We recognize that funding for immediate needs and testing of new approaches are needed to achieve results. The Government of Canada is determined to identify and support effective, Indigenous-led solutions to housing issues and to accelerate effective change.

That is why the Initiative aims to accelerate effective change by inspiring and harnessing Indigenous innovation and knowledge. It will fund projects that balance traditional ways with contemporary realities and that improve the quality of life experienced by one or more Indigenous communities.

I look forward to learning about, and to learning from, the ideas submitted by applicants.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services

Initiative Summary

We know that there are many innovative housing ideas in Indigenous communities. The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative aims to find and support First Nation, Inuit and Métis Nation innovators who have housing ideas for rural, urban or remote Indigenous communities. Selected innovators will receive funding for both the development of their ideas and the implementation of their projects.

The Initiative will support innovative housing ideas that:

  • Fall under one of six focus areas :

    Traditional First Nation, Inuit or Métis Nation building styles and techniques

    Using the home for empowerment, capacity building and support for local businesses

    Support for vulnerable populations

    Culturally-inspired urban spaces for First Nation, Inuit and Métis Nation people

    Safety, security, and accessibility

    Energy independence and efficiency

  • Introduce new ideas, designs and building techniques for effective, sustainable or culturally inspired living spaces for Indigenous peoples.
  • Are led by First Nations, Inuit or Métis Nation applicants:
    • on or off reserve
    • in a rural, urban or remote area
    • in any region of the country

Through the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative, we hope to:

  • deliver social and economic benefits for Indigenous communities (e.g. transitional housing for youth at risk)
  • take a collaborative approach by establishing new partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and organizations, including private and not-for-profit sectors
  • implement various sizes and types of projects in a range of communities—large and small, on and off reserve, remote and urban—across the country, and
  • share lessons learned from implemented projects.

Housing Challenge

Challenge details

Who can apply?

  • Individuals of First Nation, Inuit or Métis Nation heritage
  • Representatives of First Nation, Inuit or Métis Nation government
  • Indigenous representatives of a First Nation-, Inuit- or Métis Nation- owned and operated private or not-for-profit entity

Key Dates

  • Launch and call for ideas open: April 11, 2019
  • Application Deadline: August 1, 2019
  • First-stage screening: up to 24 applicants selected for Accelerator
  • Accelerator Period: Beginning fall 2019
  • Second-stage screening:15 to 24 projects selected for implementation: Beginning spring 2020
  • Project Implementation Period: 2020-2023
  • Lessons Learned and Knowledge Sharing: 2022-2023


  • Accelerator Period: Up to 24 applicants will receive up to $350,000 worth of funding and support services (a period of up to 18 months).
  • Project Implementation Period: 15 to 24 projects that successfully complete the Accelerator Period will receive up to $2 million per project for construction.