Aboriginal communities such as Attawapiskat would be well served if their elected councillors contacted the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition http://www.cvhc.org/index.php?id=19, in southern California. This non-profit housing development corporation was formed in 1982 and since that time has constructed nearly 3000 homes and apartments for low-income households. Their Mutual Self-Help Program seems to be something which could be emulated by First Nations communities all over Canada where the unemployment rate is so high.

In this program, first time homeowners are given the opportunity to help build their own homes and thereby “earn sweat equity”, which can generally add up to be 10 percent of the value of their future home and which becomes the down payment. Families work together to build each others homes under the supervision of construction supervisors with licensed sub-contractors doing the more specialized tasks. In time aboriginal youth could be trained to take over these higher skilled tasks as well which could help solve the abysmal unemployment problem which is soul destroying for aboriginal youth and the primary source of their high suicide rate.

These are the type of real result programs that Band Councils should be initiating rather than wasting time flying back and forth to Ottawa for endless meetings which accomplish nothing.