The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation will see 10 units of affordable housing built on its lands as part of a $10.8-million federal government housing initiative. The housing is for elders with low incomes.
The funding is part of the $1 billion Rapid Housing Initiative the federal government launched six months ago and which has seen, according to parliamentary secretary Adam Vaughn, MP for Spadina-Fort York in Ontario and parliamentary secretary to the minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 4,777 units of affordable housing built across the country.
Along with the 10 units at Tk’emlups, the Splatsin First Nation in Enderby will also see 10 units built, while the Shackan Indian Band near Merritt will be the recipient of 14 units of affordable housing.
Delivered by Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation via the National Housing Strategy, the Rapid Housing Initiative provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction, conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential homes.
“It is a priority of our council and community to ensure that our most vulnerable members have a safe and affordable place to call home,” Tk’emlups Chief Rosanne Casimir said in a statement. “TteS is also looking forward to the potential job creation that this project will have for members. This project supports our community’s vision for more housing opportunities for our growing membership. We hope to continue to work with CMHC for future housing opportunities so that we can address the priorities outlined in TteS’ Five-Year Housing Plan and TteS Needs and Demand Study.”
This project will create two four-plexes and one two-plex rancher-style home. These new homes will replace the four existing units that have exceeded their lifespan and are in substandard condition, plus create new spaces for elders. The homes will be on Tyee Park Way, off Chief Louis Way.
Splatsin First Nation Chief Wayne Christian said the announcement marks the first time in more than 20 years that homes will be built in his growing community.
“Homes are critical to the health and well-being of members of Splatsin. Many community members are unable to come back to their community due to no available housing,” Christian said in a statement. “There are also several families in an over-crowding situation on reserve and this will help relieve that stress for them. Although the 10-unit development is a positive change for the nation, it is still not enough. There are approximately 30 families on a list to receive on-reserve housing.”
Added Shackan Indian Band Chief Arnie Lampreau: “These homes are desperately needed within our community as the housing market has been so severely impacted by the effects of COVID-19. With the increase in rental rates, and shortage of low-income housing, this grant provides a means to allow our people to move to the safety of their home community. The benefits of our people moving home is profound, allowing them easier access to their language, culture and traditions.”
The housing units are expected to be ready for residents by the end of the year.
Under the Rapid Housing Initiative, $500 million was available through an application-based process, which closed on Dec. 31, 2020. Funding was available to provinces, territories and municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations and non-profit organizations. The program has received significant interest from Indigenous groups, which resulted in nearly 40 per cent of all units created under the program to be targeted to Indigenous peoples.