Huu-ay-aht First Nation and Uchucklesaht Tribe receive funding for new affordable housing units

·2 min read

Vancouver Island, BC - Construction of 19 affordable housing units are being built within the Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ and Uchucklesaht Tribe’s communities.

Around $6.92 million will be invested towards the units through the Projects Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” read a release by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Canada’s authority on housing. “The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to Canada’s recovery for communities across the country, including those in British Columbia.”

After every house in the village of Ethlateese was deemed unliveable, Uchucklesaht Tribe Chief Councillor Charlie Cootes said that the RHI came just in time.

“With this funding, we will see eight new homes built and make it possible for eight families to move back home,” he said. “This is true reconciliation on the ground, making homes for people to be able to practice long forgotten cultural practices.”

The additional 11 homes are being constructed within Huu-ay-aht’s traditional territory, building on the success of the nation’s 2020 housing project, said elected chief Robert J. Dennis Sr.

“It brings our total new housing units up to 22,” he said in a release. "We have made a commitment to our people to create a safe, healthy place to live where they can connect with the land and their culture. Thanks to the timely contribution from CMHC, we are able to offer affordable housing to more of our citizens so they can move home and enjoy our wonderful homeland.”

Through an application-based process which closed on Dec. 31, 2020, $500 million was available to provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous governments and non-profit organizations as part of the RHI Projects Stream.

The Canadian government invested an additional $1.5 billion towards funding for the RHI in 2021, of which at least 25 per cent will go towards women-focused housing projects.

The program is set to help create over 9,200 affordable housing units across Canada, with almost 40 per cent of the units targeted towards Indigenous peoples.

I am happy to see our government supporting the housing needs of the Huuayaht First Nation and Uchucklesaht Tribe communities,” said Randeep Sarai, member of parliament for Surrey Centre. “It means we as a province get one-step closer in making sure no First Nation youth, adult or elder is left without a place to call home.”

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After every house in the village of Ethlateese was deemed unliveable, a government program is funding eight homes. (Submitted photos)

Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa