More than 1,100 new homes coming for Indigenous peoples

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Indigenous peoples on- and off-reserve will soon have access to more than 1,100 new affordable homes in 26 communities throughout British Columbia.

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 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.

“It is a monumental gift for our community that will have significant impact for generations to come. On behalf of those soon to be housed and Katzie First Nation, I would like to sincerely thank BC Housing and the Honourable Minister Selina Robinson for supporting the vision for health and wellness for our families.”

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 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.

A community breakdown of projects is included in the backgrounder below.

Quotes:

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“Long-term, stable housing is critical for keeping Indigenous families together and their communities thriving. This housing project is exceptional news for Indigenous peoples who have faced extraordinary housing challenges that are out of proportion compared to other Canadians. Our government is committed to work in partnership with the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, Indigenous housing societies and First Nations to make sure more Indigenous peoples have access to housing that meets their needs in communities throughout B.C.”

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands –

“I applaud this crucial investment in affordable housing for Indigenous peoples both on- and off-reserve. Housing is a fundamental necessity that provides people with the basic security they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives. This government’s proactive approach to providing more affordable housing for Indigenous peoples takes significant strides toward addressing the housing challenges and unacceptable levels of homelessness faced by Indigenous peoples around B.C.”

Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations –

“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. 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.”

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer, Union of BC Indian Chiefs –

“Our right to affordable, sustainable, safe and secure housing as Indigenous peoples is affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Today’s announcement is a first step to ensuring that the housing crisis in Indigenous communities is addressed. It is unprecedented and most welcome that the Province is taking these actions both on-reserve and off-reserve.”

Robert Phillips, political executive, First Nations Summit –

“One of the most important tenets for First Nations individuals and families is having access to healthy, high-quality environments in which to live. The ability to provide adequate housing to meet community needs is a critical issue that far too many First Nations are struggling with. We commend the Province of B.C. for creating the Indigenous Housing Fund (IHF) and for being the first provincial government to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing. Today’s announcement of the first approved projects under the IHF is a positive reflection of our collective commitment to continue to work together to close the socio-economic gaps faced by our communities.”

Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) –

“It is an honour for AHMA to not only witness, but to be a part of the process that encourages the inclusion of all First Nations and their right to housing. Today, in partnership with AHMA, British Columbia becomes the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing. AHMA is committed to ensuring reconciliation be at the root of all our work. The Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund encompasses that responsibility to reconciliation by allowing equal opportunity to access affordable housing regardless of whether you are Indigenous from urban, rural or northern regions.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province will provide approximately $231 million to deliver these new homes for Indigenous peoples. This includes $76 million for 367 units of on-reserve housing and $155 million for 776 units of off-reserve housing.
  • Projects were selected through a request for proposals, which was issued on June 18 and closed on Oct. 5, 2018.
  • The Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund will provide $550 million over the next 10 years to build 1,750 units of social housing for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve, in British Columbia. It was launched in Budget 2018 as part of the Province’s 30-point housing plan. The plan outlines the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history — more than $7 billion over 10 years.
  • The B.C. government is also creating new homes for Indigenous peoples as part of other investments announced in Budget 2018, including:
    • Building BC: Community Housing Fund – close to $1.9 billion over 10 years to build and operate 14,350 affordable new rental homes;
    • Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund – $734 million over 10 years to build and operate 1,500 new units of housing including transition houses, safe homes, second-stage and long-term housing; and
    • Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund – $1.2 billion over 10 years to build and operate 2,500 units of supportive housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Learn More:

Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf