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More than 100 homes open for Indigenous people in Surrey

July 10, 2024 at 11:35 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Indigenous individuals, families and Elders are getting the keys to another 104 affordable homes in Surrey with the opening of Phase 2 of the Sohkeyah development.

“True reconciliation begins when everyone has a safe, affordable and culturally appropriate place to lay their head at night,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “For too long, Indigenous Peoples, like many other British Columbians, have struggled to find safe housing they can afford in growing communities like Surrey, which is why our government is investing in projects like Sohkeyah with more still to come.”

Phase 2 of Sohkeyah (pronounced so-key-yah and meaning robin’s nest) at 7565 140th St. consists of 104 homes: 44 units in a three-storey building and 66 units in a four-storey building. Residents started moving in this month. Combined with 73 homes completed in Phase 1 in 2019, Sohkeyah has a total of 177 homes.

Each building in Phase 2 includes a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, amenity rooms, kitchens and lounge areas. Outside features include play areas with pathways encircling the site to build community among Elders and children.

“Surrey is home to the largest urban population of Indigenous Peoples anywhere in B.C. and we understand there’s a critical need to fill the housing gap,” said Harry Bains, MLA for Surrey-Newton. “That’s exactly why we’re working with partners like the Kekinow Native Housing Society to deliver projects just like this.”

The project is owned and operated by the Kekinow Native Housing Society with support from the Aboriginal Housing Management Association.

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 80,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 1,800 homes in Surrey.

Quotes:

Robin Henry, president, Kekinow Native Housing Society –

“A home should be a sanctuary – a place to live in peace, security and dignity. Sohkeyah Phase 2 will help to make a positive impact on the lives of Indigenous individuals and families to be housed in these 104 new apartments in Surrey. This milestone is achieved due to an insightful housing investment of the Province of B.C. and support from the City of Surrey.”

Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association –

“These 104 affordable homes come at a critical time to save many Indigenous families and Elders at risk of homelessness. We raise our hands to Kekinow Native Housing Society for their great work over the last four decades and to our Province for investing in urban Indigenous housing.”

Brenda Locke, mayor of Surrey –

“With the largest Indigenous population in the metro area, the Sohkeyah development has been a welcome addition to Surrey. Providing a wide range of housing is essential if we are to solve the housing crisis facing British Columbia. I would like to thank the Ministry of Housing for its funding support, and the Kekinow Native Housing Society and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association for the integral roles they played in making this much-needed project happen.”

Learn More:

To learn more about the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/projects-partners/Building-BC/CHF

To learn more about government’s new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

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

A backgrounder follows.

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