Indigenous design and vision will guide the development of an innovative affordable housing project breaking ground in Kamloops.
The Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services Society is developing the affordable rental housing, offering 31 new homes that will co-house Elders with First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth (ages 16-27). This housing is unique in Kamloops and one of only a few housing projects in B.C. that offers a continuum of affordable housing for Indigenous youth during and after they receive services from the child welfare system.
“Too many Indigenous people, including youth and Elders, don’t have access to the affordable housing they need,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are working with Indigenous partners to build safe and secure homes where Indigenous youth and Elders can build relationships and create a sense of belonging in a culturally appropriate setting.”
In honour of the territory of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, the new building will be named Kikékyelc: A Place of Belonging. In Secwepemctsin, this means to cover young protectively — as in how birds wrap wings around their young.
The homes follow a culturally appropriate building design and will help to grow an informal network of support between generations, while addressing the immediate need for affordable rental housing in the community. Support workers will also be on site to assist youth with family and cultural connections, life skills development and other specialized care needs, as well as to support Elders in their mentorship role.
Located at 975 Singh St., the City of Kamloops leased the land to BC Housing for a 60-year term to support Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services’ housing project. This land-use strategy is one of the key policies the city uses to support affordable housing developments. It has provided similar leases to two other affordable housing developments.
The 31 homes in this project are among more than 20,000 new homes completed or underway throughout B.C. because of provincial investments.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development —
“This unique project is providing affordable housing options for Indigenous young adults and Elders and brings them together to strengthen cultural connections – links that many former youth in care told us they lost. This complements the work we are doing to change the way we help our youth, so they don’t age out of care unsupported and into homelessness.”
Colleen Lucier, executive director, Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services —
“While we are excited and honoured to have this opportunity to develop this unique housing option for First Nations, Inuit and Métis young people, Kikékyelc: A Place of Belonging, is not a success story, but rather a response to the legacy of trauma our People have experienced. By offering a culturally safe, supported and affordable housing option to First Nation, Inuit and Métis youth, we hope to contribute to reconciliation by restoring traditional ways of caring for young people, strengthening their sense of belonging and reminding them of their capabilities, beauty and resilience so that they can move forward as proud, loving and generous members of society, just as their ancestors were. As a Métis child and family services agency, this is what our Elders have called us to do.”
Ken Christian, mayor, City of Kamloops —
“The City of Kamloops is proud to support the Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services Society, in partnership with BC Housing, with this exceptional housing project. The opportunity to co-house First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth and Elders offers an environment of teaching and mentoring that is incredibly unique and is sure to be a great success.”
- The Province provided $4.7 million to support this project, including funding through the Deepening Affordability program.
- The City of Kamloops contributed the land valued at $420,000 and will also provide municipal fees and waivers in the amount of $80,000.
- Through the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, the Province is investing $550 million over the next 10 years to build 1,750 units of social housing for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve in British Columbia.
- The Indigenous Housing Fund was launched in Budget 2018 as part of the Province’s 10-year housing plan. The plan outlines the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history — more than $7 billion over 10 years.
- Through the new Building BC housing funds, the Province is working in partnership to build nearly 350 units of affordable housing in Kamloops. This includes:
- Community Housing Fund: 200 mixed-income homes
- Women’s Transition Housing Fund: up to 40 units of second-stage housing
- Rapid Response to Homelessness (modular housing): 108 homes with 24/7 support for people experiencing homelessness – 62 homes are open.
A map showing the location of all announced projects is now available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
A backgrounder follows.