Ottawa has announced $2.73 million to build affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness in one of the largest Mi'kmaw communities in Nova Scotia.
The 20-unit project in the Sipekne'katik First Nation will be constructed through the federal rapid housing initiative, with half of the units targeted to women and children.
"This 20 that will go into our community, we're very grateful and we're happy to have," Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack said Thursday in a video conference.
Sack said the contribution will help the housing crisis in Sipekne'katik, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to solve the issue.
A home needs assessment completed two years ago found houses in the community needed $10 million in improvements to bring them up to standards, he said. The First Nation's housing list also indicated a need for 395 homes.
A first step
"This is an important investment," Kody Blois, the Liberal MP for Kings-Hants, said during the conference. "We know that this is not going to solve all issues in Sipekne'katik, but we have to start somewhere."
The project received $681,340 from the Sipekne'katik First Nation, including $100,000 provided to Sipekne'katik by Indigenous Services Canada.
Last month, the federal government announced $3.16 million in funding for 24 affordable housing units in the Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation and We'koqma'q First Nation as part of the rapid housing initiative.
The $1-billion initiative was announced last fall to initially create up to 3,000 permanent, affordable housing units across the country. An additional $1.5 billion for the initiative was included in the recent federal budget.
Original target tripled
"This new funding of $1.5 billion in budget 2021 will more than triple our total target to over 9,200 units built under the rapid housing initiative," said Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of families, children and social development.
"That means over 9,000 families will now have a safe and affordable place to call home."
Hussen said at least 25 per cent of the new funding will go toward women-focused housing projects. All units will be constructed within 12 months of when funding is provided to the applicants.
"Together we'll ensure that most vulnerable members of our communities are safe and sound," he said.
HRM housing projects
Last December, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said roughly $8.6 million would be used to fund rapid housing initiatives in the municipality.
The funding would be shared among Adsum House, the North End Community Health Association and the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre.
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