Province commits $76M to build homes for Indigenous families

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

BC Ferries Sailing Cancellations

Prince Rupert - Haida Gwaii - Northern Adventure

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read