Indigenous people on- and off-reserve will soon have access to more than 1,100 new affordable homes in 26 communities throughout British Columbia, including nine projects in northern B.C.
The first set of homes selected through the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund includes nearly 780 off-reserve homes and close to 370 homes on-reserve. This makes B.C. the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing.
The projects in northern B.C. are:
- Prince George: $10 million to Aboriginal Housing Society – 50 homes
- Prince Rupert: $12 million to Lax Kw’alaams WAAP Housing Society – 60 homes
- Quesnel: $5.4 million to Dakelh and Quesnel Community Housing Society – 27 homes
- Terrace: $9.6 million to M’akola Housing Society – 48 homes
- Kitamaat Village: $7.5 million to M’akola Housing Society – 23 homes
- Lax Kw’alaams: $4 million to Lax Kw’alaams WAAP Housing Society – 20 homes
- Quesnel: $2 million to Lhtako Dene Nation – 10 homes
- Skidegate: $4.8 million to Skidegate Band Council – 24 homes
- Witset: $5.2 million to Witset First Nation – 26 homes
The announcement was made on the Katzie First Nation reserve in Pitt Meadows, which is receiving $7.8 million for 39 units of on-reserve housing for Indigenous youth, Elders and families.
“I am extremely grateful that our youth and family affordable housing project was approved,” said Chief Grace Leon Cunningham, Katzie First Nation. “The needs identified by our community members both off- and on-reserve are significant and the vision of the supportive living model that was created is a stepping stone to not just housing, but toward healing.”
Part of a 10-year, $550-million commitment to build 1,750 new units of social housing for Indigenous peoples, these 1,143 new homes will be built over the next two to four years.
“The housing situation for many B.C. First Nations communities has been crippled by decades of federal government funding policies and models that haven’t kept up with our needs, nor with economic fluctuations,” said Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations. “This provincial funding will begin to make a difference, but we still have a long way to go to ensure an adequate supply and good quality housing in our fast-growing communities. We will continue to work with both levels of government to reverse a crisis that has become a monumental challenge.”
“The housing situation facing Indigenous peoples in British Columbia is unacceptable,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Through these new homes, we are working together with First Nations, the Aboriginal Housing Management Association and Indigenous housing providers to take an important step toward addressing this critical need in every corner of the province.”
BC Housing will work with Indigenous non-profit housing providers and First Nations to finalize the projects over the next few months. A second proposal call is anticipated for spring 2020.
Delivering new social housing for Indigenous peoples is a shared priority between government and the B.C. Green caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.