New affordable homes open for Okanagan Indian Band members
Okanagan Indian Band members have access to new affordable homes with the opening of 16 rental units located on reserve.
This project is the result of a partnership between the Okanagan Indian Band, the Province, through BC Housing, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
The new development is made up of four two-storey buildings, each with four one- and two-bedroom homes. Located at Lot 48, Head of Lake Road, and Lots 230 and 231, Pebble Park Road on Okanagan Indian Band Reserve No. 1, the new buildings provide affordable homes for First Nations individuals, Elders and small families with moderate and low incomes.
The project also features First Nations design elements to showcase the Okanagan Indian Band’s Syilx culture, including a large-scale art piece by Csetkwe, an Okanagan artist.
The Province has invested approximately $1.7 million through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund in the project. The federal government, through CMHC, has provided a $1-million grant through the BC Bilateral Priorities Housing Initiative matching agreement, as well as approximately $539,595 from other partners. The Okanagan Indian Band has provided the land and will own and operate the building.
Residents began moving into the new homes on March 1, 2023.
Chief Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band –
“I am pleased that the OKIB four-plex project is completed, and it is heartening to know that the 16 units are already fully occupied. The four-plexes bring housing security to the tenants, who can now rest easier knowing their housing situation has improved. With the success of this project, we are looking forward to further opportunities to expand our housing inventory with the assistance of BC Housing. We are grateful to our funders, especially BC Housing, for making this project happen. Limlemt.”
Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion –
“Our government values our relationship with Indigenous Peoples and is committed to supporting them in creating safe and secure homes that meet their needs. This is why we are investing in 16 new affordable homes in Vernon to ensure Okanagan band members have a safe and affordable place to call home within their own community. Through our partnerships, we are working to deliver more housing for Indigenous communities across British Columbia. This is the National Housing Strategy at work.”
Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Granville –
“Improving Indigenous housing is a priority for our government and it is why First Nations are a priority group under the National Housing Strategy. We are working with Indigenous partners, as well as with all levels of government, across Canada to build homes that meets their needs. Together, we are building new, permanent housing that is improving the well-being for these communities.”
Ravi Kahlon, B.C. Minister of Housing –
“Being able to grow up, raise a family, and age in place right in community is so valuable. I would like to thank all partners for their hard work to make sure more Okanagan Nation families, Elders, and individuals have an affordable place to call home. We’re committed to continuing our work with Indigenous communities on housing with an additional nearly $2-billion investment to build and operate 3,500 new homes on and off reserve in Budget 2023.”
Harwinder Sandhu, MLA Vernon-Monashee –
“Our government is committed to continuing to build affordable housing by doing its part to make sure people can stay in the communities where they have connections and a home where they feel safe and comfortable. These housing units are more than just affordable housing, it means that OKIB members will have access to life-changing housing while staying close and connected to their community. Safe, secure, and accessible housing is a critical part of building happy and healthy communities. I applaud the OKIB for their innovation and work on these homes and am so proud that the B.C. government was able to play a role in bringing them to reality. I am proud of our government for being the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing through our Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund.”
For more information on the CMHC, visit: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/
To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit: www.placetocallhome.ca
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/
A map showing the location of all announced provincially-funded housing projects in B.C. is available online at: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
A backgrounder follows.