More than 100 new homes coming for Indigenous Peoples in Surrey

July 5, 2022 at 9:28 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Construction is underway on Phase 2 of the Kekinow Native Housing Society’s (KNHS) Sohkeyah development in Surrey.

This development will provide 104 new affordable rental homes for Indigenous individuals, families and Elders.

“We know there’s a critical need to build more affordable homes for Indigenous Peoples in Surrey, and that’s why we are working with partners such as the Kekinow Native Housing Society to deliver projects like this,” said Harry Bains, MLA for Surrey-Newton. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact these homes will have on the lives of those who will call this place home.”

Located at 7561-140 St., Phase 2 consists of a 44-home, three-storey building and a 60-home, four-storey building. Combined with 73 homes in Phase 1 completed in 2019, the redevelopment will provide 177 homes.

“Kekinow Native Housing Society has played a critical role in providing shelter for Indigenous Peoples for decades,” said Doug McCallum, mayor, City of Surrey. “The second phase of this affordable rental housing project in Surrey is yet another example of Kekinow’s diligent efforts to ensure residents on limited incomes are given the best chance to thrive and reach their full potential. While Surrey has the largest urban Indigenous population in B.C., we are under-served when it comes to Indigenous housing and support services. This project is a big step in the right direction.”

Named Sohkeyha (meaning robin’s nest), the project will be owned and operated by KNHS with support from the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA).

“Kekinow Native Housing Society, which focuses its efforts on serving low-income Indigenous individuals and families, is very pleased that Phase 2 construction of this important project is underway,” said June Laitar, president, Kekinow Native Housing Society. “The society has proudly been providing subsidized, affordable, long-term rental housing for Indigenous Peoples in the Surrey and Chilliwack area since 1987.”

Each building will include a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, amenity rooms, kitchens and lounge areas. Outside features will include play areas and pathways encircling the site to build community among Elders and children.

“Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society came on board as an early supporter and committed $275,000 to this important project, and it is truly wonderful to see it moving forward with construction on Phase 2,” said Laurie Guerra, board chair and president, Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society. “We are so proud to be part of this project that will provide additional homes for Indigenous families in our community, and we want to recognize the great partnerships and dedication that helped make this housing project a reality.”

The project is expected to be complete in spring 2024.

“Kekinow Native Housing Society’s Sohkeyah development will make meaningful change in the lives of all its future residents while enhancing and fostering a broader sense of community for Indigenous Peoples and the city of Surrey,” said Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA). “We would like to acknowledge the relentless dedication and hard work from the entire team at Kekinow. This is an exciting initiative and a wonderful example of how AHMA members are leading the change for Indigenous housing across British Columbia. Through the delivery of culturally appropriate, safe and affordable housing, the Sohkeyah and Kekinow will strengthen and empower their communities.”

This project is part of B.C.’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded nearly 34,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C., including close to 1,800 homes in Surrey.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is providing approximately $11.2 million from the Building BC: Community Housing Fund for the project and will provide $600,000 in annual operating funding.
  • The Kekinow Native Housing Society provided the project land, valued at approximately $5 million.
  • The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society provided a $275,000 grant.

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/

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