10:16 AM

Snuneymuxw First Nation, BC Housing celebrate partnership

The Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Province, through BC Housing, met to celebrate progress on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and reaffirm their intention to work together on a holistic approach to housing that integrates learning, wellness and healing.

“We continue on a path alongside BC Housing where Snuneymuxw knowledge has been embraced as a way to strengthen housing outcomes for all who live in this sacred territory,” said Chief Mike Wyse, Snuneymuxw First Nation. “Our primary focus is on ensuring affordable housing options are available for our people, so we can welcome more Snuneymuxw home and thrive here together as the ancestors intended.”

On June 21, 2021, BC Housing and Snuneymuxw First Nation signed an MOU to build and operate new culturally appropriate housing for Snuneymuxw people, particularly women and children, elders and people experiencing homelessness in the community. Since the signing, the Snuneymuxw First Nation and BC Housing have deepened their relationship and have worked together to build the Nation’s housing capacity and expertise.

“On National Indigenous Peoples Day, we’re honoured to commemorate our partnership with the Snuneymuxw First Nation, celebrate our successes and reaffirm our work to build more homes for people,” said Premier David Eby. “This partnership isn’t about one project – it’s a long-term commitment that we hope will lead to hundreds of homes for families, elders and people in the Snuneymuxw community.”

BC Housing and the Snuneymuxw First Nation have made progress on several housing developments in the community, including:

  • 611 Kennedy St.: A fourplex of newly built three-bedroom units that will provide affordable rental housing off reserve for Snuneymuxw members who are working professionals. The Province provided a $2.6-million grant to the Nation to purchase the building. The Nation will manage the building with operational support from M’akola Housing Society. Residents are expected to move in August 2023.
  • Lots 87-89 Road A, IR No. 4 (La’lum’utul): Located on-reserve, La’lum’utul (which means “care for one another”) will provide eight homes for Indigenous families. Construction is expected to start July 2023.
  • 355 Nicol St.: A 35-unit supportive housing project that will be operated by the Nation and will provide housing for Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in the community. The project is currently pending rezoning.
  • Fifth Street and Howard Avenue (Te’tuxtwun): Located on a 2.3-hectare site owned by the City of Nanaimo, School District 68 and BC Housing, the redevelopment project is proposed to include a mix of subsidized, affordable rental and market housing, community gathering spaces and an alternative learning school.

“Our government is committed to listening to the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Indigenous organizations throughout B.C., so that we can take a collaborative, flexible approach to the development of housing,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “I am glad that we will be able to continue to work together to share knowledge and best practices to make housing better for all Snuneymuxw people.”

The Snuneymuxw First Nation hosted an event on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo within Snuneymuxw territory, where representatives from BC Housing and the provincial government celebrated the continuing partnership.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with the Snuneymuxw First Nation to bring forward these important projects,” said Vincent Tong, CEO, BC Housing. “Housing is one of the key tools to maintain, develop, protect and transmit cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, language and way of life. We’re honoured to have the opportunity to work with the Snuneymuxw First Nation and to share in their wisdom and knowledge.”

The Province has taken action to build better homes for Indigenous people in British Columbia. In 2018, the Province launched the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund (IHF), 10-year, $550-million investment to build more than 1,750 new homes for Indigenous people, on and off reserve in B.C. The Province is investing a further $1.3 billion over the next 10 years to double the number of IHF spaces, bringing the total to 3,500.

With this commitment, B.C. became the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing, which is a federal jurisdiction. To date, more than 1,500 IHF homes have opened or are underway throughout B.C.

Learn More:

To learn about government’s Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

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/