(Kwakiutl First Nation/Wikipedia)

The BC government has announced that they will be building over 1,100 new homes for Indigenous people on and off reserves in 26 communities across the province.

On Vancouver Island, 188 homes will be built off reserves and 6 homes will be built on the Kwakiutl First Nation reserve in Fort Rupert.

Off-reserve housing for Indigenous people on Vancouver Island:

  • Colwood: $24.8 million to Vancouver Aboriginal Land Trust – 124 homes
  • Langford: $8 million to M’akola Housing Society – 40 homes
  • Port Hardy: $4.8 million to Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’Xw Nations – 24 homes

According to a press release from the province, the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund will be used to build almost 780 off-reserve homes and 370 homes on-reserve, making BC the first province to invest in on-reserve housing.

“The housing situation for many B.C. First Nations communities has been crippled by decades of federal government funding policies and models that haven’t kept up with our needs, nor with economic fluctuations,” said Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations.

“This provincial funding will begin to make a difference, but we still have a long way to go to ensure an adequate supply and good quality housing in our fast-growing communities. We will continue to work with both levels of government to reverse a crisis that has become a monumental challenge.”

A total of 1,143 new homes is expected to be built across the province within the next two years, and is a part of a 10 year, $550-million housing investment commitment. This first phase will cost approximately $231 million.

BC Housing, Indigenous non-profit housing providers, and First Nations will be working to finalize the projects in the coming months, and a second proposal call is anticipated for spring 2020.