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New homes open for Witset First Nation Elders and families

January 16, 2023 at 2:59 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

From the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2023/new-homes-open-witset-first-nation

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville, Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Delta North, Nathan Cullen, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Stikine, and Lucy Gagnon, Executive Director, Witset First Nation announced approximately $6 million in funding for a new affordable 26-unit building for Elders, individuals and families of Witset First Nation.

Located on-reserve at Witset First Nation, the three-storey, wood-frame structure will be operated by the Yikh Lhiw Dinle Housing Society. The building will feature 26 units, consisting of studio and two-bedroom homes for Elders, individuals and families. The building has shared amenity spaces to facilitate social gatherings and community cohesion, as well as common laundry and counselling spaces. 

Construction of the new homes has helped strengthen the local economy by providing opportunities for training and employment to members of the Witset First Nation. This included no-cost training to local participants by Passive House Canada and Yellowridge Construction, funded by the Forestry Innovation Investment Wood First Program, as well as the hiring of local Witset contractors and tradespeople.  

The building was constructed to meet Passive House standards, which require buildings to consume up to 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings. Monthly rents for the new homes will range from $375 to $840. The Province of B.C., through BC Housing, partnered with Witset First Nation to construct the building, which is now completed.

Funding provided for this project is as follows: 

  • $500,000 of joint funding through the Canada-British Columbia Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy.
  • $5.5 million from the Province through BC Housing via the Indigenous Housing Fund and approximately $250,000 in annual operating funding.

Quotes:

“No relationship is more important to our government than the one with Indigenous Peoples. These 26 units of new affordable housing on-reserve at Witset First Nation not only provide much needed homes for the community, but they also serve as a model for sustainable living. By investing in affordable housing, we are working hard to improve the quality of life for those who need it most. This is our government’s National Housing Strategy at work.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

“Thanks to this partnership, Elders, families and residents of Witset First Nation will have access to safe and affordable homes. This project is improving the economic and social well-being of those who will soon call this new building home. The federal government is committed to ensure that all Canadians can find a home that meets their needs and budget.”

– Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville

“I would like to thank all of the partners for their hard work to make sure Indigenous families, Elders and individuals have an affordable place to call home. We will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous communities and municipalities to build affordable homes like these throughout the province, and we continue to call on the federal government to fulfil their responsibilities and match our funding to build even more much-needed housing for Indigenous Peoples both on- and off-reserve.”

– Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Delta North

“With this new opening, people of Witset First Nation can live affordably in their home territory, close to family, community and culture. I applaud the leadership of the Witset First Nation for meeting the needs of their members and building these new homes.”

Nathan Cullen, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Stikine

“This rental development will be a great addition to the community of Witset in terms of affordable housing. We are able to reduce the housing waitlist by 25% by just this one building. On behalf of the Board of Yikh Lhiw Dinle Housing Society we would like to thank BC Housing for funding this opportunity and also thank Cornerstone Architecture, Lu’ma Development Management and Yellowridge Construction for their involvement. We would not have been able to do this without all the partners.”

– Lucy Gagnon, Executive Director, Witset First Nation

Quick facts:

  • Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $72-plus billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
    • NHS is built on strong partnerships between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and continuous engagement with others, including municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the social and private housing sectors. This includes consultations with Canadians from all walks of life, and people with lived experience of housing need.
    • All NHS investments delivered by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments will respect the key principles of NHS that support partnerships, people, and communities.
  • This project is part of B.C.’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 36,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway. Including these new homes in the Witset First Nation, approximately 1,400 Indigenous Housing Fund (IHF) homes have opened, are under construction or are in development. Of those, 338 are on-reserve homes.
  • The IHF is a 10-year, $550-million investment to build and operate new affordable homes for Indigenous Peoples on and off reserve.

Additional Information:

  • As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford and that meets their needs. For more information, please visit cmhc.ca (cmhc-schl.gc.ca) or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com) , Instagram (instagram.com) , YouTube (youtube.com) , LinkedIn (linkedin.com) and Facebook (facebook.com) .
  • To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, please visit www.placetocallhome.ca.
  • 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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