An innovative, affordable housing project will bring together Indigenous youth and elders in Kamloops, with the Government of British Columbia announcing a commitment of approximately $4.7 million.
The Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services Society is developing the affordable rental housing project that will see Indigenous youth, who have aged out of care, living under the same roof with elders.
“Too many people, including Indigenous youth aging out of care and young adults, don’t have nearly enough affordable housing options in Kamloops and throughout the province,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The unique setting for this project will not only give people a safe and secure home, but also the chance to support one another, which will lead to a more fulfilling and stable life.”
Located at 975 Singh St., the goal of the 31-unit project is to grow an informal network of support between generations, while addressing the immediate need for affordable rental housing in the community.
“We have heard from youth in care that long-term relationships with caring, dependable adults, and stronger community and cultural connections are among the many supports they need to successfully transition to adulthood,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This housing project is an example of how government is listening to Indigenous communities who know what’s best for their youth, and strengthening the ability of Indigenous organizations to provide services to children and youth guided by their traditions and cultures.”
A support worker will also be on site to help youth and elders gain access to any specialized care they need.
“By creating this culturally safe and supported residence, we will provide a unique housing opportunity in which First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth will see themselves reflected, experience the wisdom of elders, and have the safety of knowing they matter, they are loved and they belong,” said Colleen Lucier, executive director, Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services. “In this way, we will contribute to improved outcomes for Indigenous youth aging out of care, and restore hope to a population in which hopelessness has become far too common.”
Construction is expected to begin this summer.
“This is a unique project that will provide residents with affordability and support, while bridging the gap between generations,” said Ken Christian, mayor, City of Kamloops. “As a city, we’re motivated to increase the housing supply across the continuum, and continue to look for opportunities to support the organizations that step up to make that happen.”
The city leased the land on Singh Street to Lii Michif Otipemisiwak for a 60-year term. Leveraging city land is one of the key strategies the city uses to support affordable housing development, and it has provided similar leases for two other recent affordable housing developments.
- The new building will be known as Kikékyelc, which means to cover young protectively, as in how birds wrap wings around their young.
- The project will include approximately 16 homes for youth aging out of care and 15 homes for elders.
- Rental rates for the new development are projected to be:
- Studio: $600
- 1 bedroom: $720
- Accessible 1 bedroom: $750
- This project is part of the Province’s commitment to build 114,000 affordable homes, including market rental, non-profit, supported social housing, co-op and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.
- Budget 2018 launched the biggest investment in housing affordability in B.C. history – more than $7 billion over 10 years.
- Over the next decade, the Province is investing $550 million into the construction of more than 1,700 new homes for Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
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