Indigenous residents move into new affordable housing in Vancouver

November 22, 2021 at 3:17 pm  BC, News, Politics

New affordable, culturally appropriate rental homes have opened for Indigenous residents in a new building in downtown Vancouver.

“Indigenous Peoples face disproportionate challenges when it comes to finding and securing a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. “This announcement highlights the power of partnership and reconciliation in action for Indigenous youth, families and Elders.”

These new homes are the result of a partnership between the Province, through BC Housing, Lu’ma Native Housing Society, the City of Vancouver, the Greater Vancouver Community Advisory Board for Reaching Home, and the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Our government is taking steps, right now, to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. “Our investments will go a long way to support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable housing units to vulnerable populations, including Indigenous Peoples. Our government’s plan under the National Housing Strategy continues to provide housing for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including right here in Downtown Vancouver.”

Located at 950 Main St., the six-storey wood-frame apartment building has 25 studio units and a single one-bedroom home. The building includes a ground-floor commercial retail unit and has nearby access to public transit, green space and a commercial hub. Monthly rents range from $375 to $650, depending on unit size and household income.

“These 26 new affordable rental homes in the heart of Vancouver will be life-changing and help more neighbours stay close to the people and places they love,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor, City of Vancouver. “Thanks to city-owned land and funding from our metro, provincial and federal partners, Lu’ma Native Housing Society is using their expertise to support Indigenous individuals and families while helping to strengthen our community at the same time.”

Lu’ma Native Housing Society, an experienced non-profit housing provider, will own and operate the homes. The society will provide residents with cultural supports, such as culturally integrated health care, access to traditional Elders and healers, counselling supports and social navigators, as well as traditional drumming circles and ceremonies.

“Lu’ma respects and acknowledges that this project is located on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations,” said Kent Patenaude, president, Lu’ma Native Housing Society. “For over 40 years the Lu’ma Group of Societies has provided safe and affordable Indigenous housing and wraparound services in the City of Vancouver. This project helps Lu’ma to provide urgently needed housing and we are thrilled to have more housing options available that would not otherwise be attainable in this expensive housing market.”

BC Housing and CMHC jointly contributed $5.93 million to the project through the Social Infrastructure Fund, while the City of Vancouver provided the land for the building. The Government of Canada, through the Reaching Home program, contributed approximately $2.6 million to this project.

“Metro Vancouver is committed to addressing one of the most critical issues in our region: access to affordable housing,” said Sav Dhaliwal, chair, Metro Vancouver Board of Directors. “Developing access to housing for people and families with diverse needs and mixed incomes is the foundation of an equitable and resilient region. I applaud the efforts of CMHC, BC Housing, Lu’ma Native Housing Society, Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, and others that have resulted in these 26 new homes for Indigenous families.”

Residents started moving into their new homes in September and the building is now fully tenanted.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, and the Government of Canada, through CMHC, have partnered to build more than 1,167 homes through the Social Infrastructure Fund since 2016.
  • In addition to these homes, the Province is investing $550 million over 10 years through the Indigenous Housing Fund (IHF) to build and operate 1,750 new homes for Indigenous Peoples, on and off reserve.
  • With this commitment, B.C. became the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing, which is a federal jurisdiction.
  • Since 2017, there are more than 1,100 IHF homes completed or underway in 26 communities throughout B.C.

Learn More:

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

To learn more about agreements between the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/about/federal-agreements

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