Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

August 29, 2007 10:00 ET

HRSDC: Housing for Homeless Aboriginal Seniors Opens

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 29, 2007) - Today, representatives from the federal and provincial governments, the City of Hamilton, as well as partners, guests and community supporters participated in a traditional Aboriginal ceremony to mark the grand opening of the Koo gaa da win Manitou complex for homeless Aboriginal seniors. This project is helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of Aboriginal seniors.

"Canada's New Government believes that safe and quality housing helps homeless families, seniors and individuals rediscover a sense of community, become more independent and enjoy a better quality of life," said Mr. David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. "That is why I am proud to be here today with all the project's partners for the opening of the Koo gaa da win Manitou complex, which will help many local homeless Aboriginal seniors achieve self-sufficiency."

Named Koo gaa da win Manitou, meaning "sheltering the spirit" in Ojibway, the preparation of this 24-unit facility involved the refurbishing of a vacant building and the construction of an extension. Established by Urban Native Homes Incorporated, the Koo gaa da win Manitou complex addresses the shelter needs of Hamilton's Aboriginal community by helping to meet the physical, holistic, mental, spiritual and emotional needs of Aboriginal seniors.

"I am very proud, as the Downtown Ward 2 Councillor, to have played a small part in seeing this project successfully completed. This is a great step forward for Hamilton's large Aboriginal community as it now begins to offer services for needy seniors who in many cases have known only the streets and shelters. Thanks to some very hard-working, committed and caring individuals, they will now know the dignity and peace that has been missing from their lives, and I am proud that they will be cared for in the heart of our Downtown," said City of Hamilton Councillor Bob Bratina.

"Approximately 48 per cent of Aboriginal people in Hamilton live below the poverty level and Aboriginal people account for 20 per cent of the homeless population. Koo gaa da win Manitou is the result of much hard work on behalf of our community leaders, the project's staff and contractors who all believe that this initiative is an important part of addressing poverty for Aboriginal people in this area," said Urban Native Homes Incorporated's President, Corinne Williams. "From the very beginning, the project considered the unique needs of homeless seniors and what it means to support them in gaining greater self-sufficiency. Six of our units are modified for the physically disabled, and the supportive services that will be implemented will take a culturally sensitive approach to healing and empowering these individuals in dire need."

The project received over $3.1million in federal homelessness funding through the City of Hamilton for the purchase and construction of the Koo gaa da win Manitou complex.

Canada's New Government is delivering on its commitment to help those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The new Homelessness Partnering Strategy began on April 1, 2007. It is providing $269.6 million over two years to help communities across Canada combat homelessness more effectively. The Strategy puts in place structures and supports that help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless achieve self-sufficiency, and fosters partnerships aimed at realizing concrete results.

For more information on the federal government's Homelessness Partnering Strategy, visit

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Solberg
    Pema Lhalungpa
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office