Selina Robinson, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, says this is a historical first for a province to be working with First Nation communities to provide affordable housing. (Black Press Photo)

Province commits $76M to build homes for Indigenous families

Indigenous housing project in Terrace receives $9.6 million

In a precedent-setting move, BC Housing will be providing more than 1,100 new homes for Indigenous people in B.C., including almost 50 in the Terrace area.

“This is historical,” says B.C.’s minister of municipal affairs and housing, Selina Robinson. “No provincial government has ever said we’re going to build housing with First Nations. It’s important that we do it because it’s the right thing to do, it’s part of reconciliation and it’s better for everybody when there’s access to appropriate housing.”

Overall, approximately $231 million will be provided to build new housing in 26 communities throughout B.C. This includes $76 million for 367 unit of on-reserve and $155 million for 776 reserves of off-reserve housing.

In Terrace, the M’akola Housing Society was granted $9.6 million to build 48 homes off-reserve. Each home was given a budget of $200,000. It’s expected the project should take between two to four years.

“We know it’s absolutely critical in Terrace, Indigenous families make up about 55 per cent of the rental population in your community and of those Indigenous renters, 25 per cent are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent and utilities, so that’s what we emphasize as a core housing need,” says Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing.

She says many in the Terrace region are on the verge of homelessness, with 11 per cent of renters spending over 50 per cent of their income on housing, meaning they have little money left over for other basic needs.

“If you’re challenged to pay for medication, food, and transportation — these are all essential to have a decent life,” says Robinson. “We shouldn’t have to wait years and years to build these sorts of projects, we want to give 48 families (in Terrace) a key to a home that will provide them with some security for a long-term.”

READ MORE: Affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities

BC Housing will be working with 30 different projects across the province, which are at different stages of development. From June to October, they had accepted proposals from organizations who had housing projects that they were working on. Part of M’akola Housing Society project criteria was to ensure sustainable long-term housing that would be available for the next 50 years.

The rent payment of these properties also have to reflect the renter’s income, which is determined on the Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) guidelines of having to pay no more than 30 per cent of income for housing.

“There have been so many stories of overcrowding, so children and young adults leave because there’s no housing for them, they go to urban centres where they have no support system and then they fall into challenging lifestyles,” says Robinson. “Or even elders who lived in communities their entire lives, but now they need to leave because there’s isn’t any of housing they need — it makes it harder for everybody.”

READ MORE: B.C. women fleeing violence to get new transition housing facilities

Robinson says that there were a number of chiefs and leaders from Indigenous communities at their event on Nov. 24 and that everyone in the room wanted to “collectively weep” after the announcement, feeling an “immense sense of relief.”

“This is historical, that’s what was so touching about Saturday,” Robinson says.

M’akola Housing Society did not respond to an interview request.


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon, oolichan given new life in Terrace art exhibit

Local artist pays homage to fish using old Japanese fish printing technique

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Sports Briefs

Your top athletes and teams

VIDEO: Dog behaviourist holds classes to raise funds for NARA

Holidays are a busy time for rescue agencies

Salmon, oolichan given new life in Terrace art exhibit

Local artist pays homage to fish using old Japanese fish printing technique

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

Most Read