Province partners with Nicola bands to improve on-reserve affordable housing
MERRITT – Five Nicola bands and BC Housing are working together on a new project to improve the quality of on-reserve housing in the Nicola Valley near Merritt.
“I feel that this initiative is something that has been thought about for some time, but has never been executed,” said Chief Jordan Joe, Shackan Indian Band. “I'm happy to see now that we can assess all of our assets for the Nicola Valley bands and figure out the way forward and how we can achieve that by developing capacity, getting our housing in order and having a central entity that can take care of it. I am very happy and excited to be working with BC Housing on this initiative and looking forward to what we can do by working together.”
“We are committed to working with Indigenous peoples to build and improve housing that will help grow healthy communities, families and people, and are pleased to be working together today,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End. “This partnership agreement will lead to knowledge sharing and action on best practices to make homes and housing on reserve better for all members of the Nicola Bands in the Merritt area.”
The Indigenous Asset Management Memorandum of Understanding is a three-year agreement between BC Housing and the Lower Nicola Indian Band, Upper Nicola Indian Band, Coldwater Indian Band, Nooaitch Indian Band and Shackan Indian Band.
BC Housing will provide training and education to strengthen expertise within the bands to manage their supply of housing over the long term.
The five Nicola bands will work to maintain housing that meets or exceeds industry standards for safety, durability, accessibility, healthy living and energy efficiency. The bands will also work together to secure third-party capital funding for on-reserve housing renewal and to support culturally appropriate economic, social and environmentally sustainable housing.
Chief Aaron Sumexheltza, Lower Nicola Indian Band—
“The Nicola bands are excited about this new partnership with the Province of British Columbia and BC Housing. This new relationship will mean real training opportunities for community members and will help us move forward on the path of self-sufficiency relating to housing.”
- The Government of British Columbia is committed to working respectfully with Indigenous peoples to address the housing challenges faced by many people around the province.
- In addition to working with First Nations to improve existing housing, the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund will provide $550 million over the next 10 years to build 1,750 units of social housing for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve, in British Columbia. It was launched in Budget 2018 as part of the Province’s 30-point housing plan. The plan outlines the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history — more than $7 billion over 10 years.
- In November 2018, the Province announced approximately $231 million from the Indigenous Housing Fund to deliver the first 1,143 of these new homes for Indigenous peoples. This includes $76 million for 367 units of on-reserve housing and $155 million for 776 units of off-reserve housing.
- The B.C. government is also creating new homes for Indigenous peoples as part of other investments announced in Budget 2018, including:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund — close to $1.9 billion over 10 years to build and operate 14,350 affordable new rental homes;
- Building BC: Women's Transition Housing Fund — $734 million over 10 years to build and operate 1,500 new units of housing including transition houses, safe homes, second-stage and long-term housing; and
Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund — $1.2 billion over 10 years to build and operate 2,500 units of supportive housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing