Carol Kobliski works part-time as a band constable in Nelson House, and she isn’t pleased with how the community is being run. “We’re taking care of ourselves, because our leaders aren’t there. They aren’t working for the people. They may say they are, but we haven’t seen them do anything in the one year they’ve been in office.”
Kobliski says the community has been in turmoil recently, and people are calling her instead of Chief Marcel Moody. “When there’s turmoil in the community you can’t get a hold of them. Their phones are full of messages, and they’re not deleting them so you can’t leave more messages. We have a hard time contacting anyone, and people are calling me instead of the chief now. I’m not even a leader, but my home line, my cell phone and my husband’s cell phone are always ringing.”
On June 1, Christina MacDonald Francois, a resident of Nelson House, received a letter of eviction to her house that she shared with her common-law husband Leo Spence. The letter it gave the family one day to leave, since someone else was moving in. The family had nowhere to go, and are now living on the streets, camping out with all their furniture. Kobliski thinks the community should have given her a backup place until she could find a full time residence. “I went to look for [Marcel Moody] at his house when I was on my shift. He said she did it to herself, and he said he’d see her later. A few hours later I went to where the family was, and the chief had never shown up.” Kobliski continued by saying it’s discrimination against the woman. “To say they won’t help her out because of the past with drinking, drugs and gangs is discrimination. That should not be happening here. I told chief and council, and housing that they can’t do that to people, regardless of their past. They need to help people get help.”
Moody, however says there’s a process in place where the housing authority board takes a look at tenant’s history when it comes to renting a home in the community. He also explained that the house was allocated to Spence’s daughter in April, and the family knew for two months they would have to leave the residence.
MacDonald Francois said through tears that she just wants a home so her family and grandchildren can come visit her. The mother said that the letter stated they made a verbal agreement that she would leave on a specific date at a meeting with chief and council and Manitoba Housing, but MacDonald Francois says she wasn’t at any meeting with the two.
The community has now come together and so far has donated $3,500 towards building MacDonald Francois and her family a log home, which will be built on a lot, near where the family is camping out now.
Kobliski says MacDonald Francois isn’t the only family dealing with hard times in Nelson House. “I went one to a house and there’s 25 people in that house. This one girl has 10 kids and her house burnt down because of wiring, and now she’s in her sister’s house. It’s overcrowding, and people are getting sick in the houses.”
The area of Bay Road is the worst, the band constable noted, saying whenever there’s an election the leaders will go to that area for votes, and never come through with their promises after they’re voted in. She continued by saying the houses are rundown, full of graffiti, floorboards are rotting, and there’s mould everywhere. “I’m disappointed and embarrassed by my leaders and the housing board.”
Moody says it shouldn’t be a fight against chief and council, but it should be a fight against the government. “We’re trying to do our best, and there’s so many of our houses being destroyed. In terms of headway and building more houses for our people, it seems that we’re losing more housing than we’re gaining. People are burning down houses, destroying houses. At the end of the day we have to draw a line. If you don’t respect the house you’re living in there are consequences.”