Indigenous families, individuals and Elders will soon have new affordable rental homes in their community as the Westbank First Nation (WFN) and the Province partner to build 17 homes on the Westbank reserve.
“Our Council strives to ensure that all WFN Members are afforded housing opportunities that meet current needs and our long-term housing goals,” said Chief Christopher Derickson, WFN. “We are very pleased with both housing projects that will be developed in partnership with BC Housing on Falcon Lane and Fox Road. Providing 17 new housing options allows us to continue to support our Membership with affordable housing while working towards our long-term vision of revitalizing our community core.”
In 2018, B.C. became the first province to invest in on-reserve housing for First Nations people through the Indigenous Housing Fund, a $550-million investment over 10 years to build and operate 1,750 new homes, both on- and off- reserve. These homes with the WFN are part of the first series of projects that were selected in November 2018 to receive funding through the Indigenous Housing Fund.
“Housing is the foundation on which people build their lives. With these homes, more WFN Members will be able to stay in their home community, surrounded by their culture and tradition,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Our government is proud to be working in partnership with First Nations, Indigenous leaders and Indigenous housing providers to build much-needed new, affordable homes like these for Indigenous peoples throughout B.C.”
The first complex, a two-storey apartment building at 1920 Falcon Lane, will include 14 apartments for WFN Members. The building will have a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, with the ground floor and two-bedroom units serving Elders and Members who require an accessible layout. Monthly rents are projected to be $400 per month for the eight one-bedroom units and $570 per month for the six two-bedroom units. The Province is providing a $2.8-million grant through the Indigenous Housing Fund for the project, as well as an annual operating subsidy.
Located at 1910 Fox Rd., the second complex will include three townhomes for Member families. Each townhome will have two-bedrooms, living, dining and kitchen areas, and one-and-a-half bathrooms. Monthly rents are projected to be $570 per month. The Province is providing a $600,000 Indigenous Housing Fund grant for the project, as well as an annual operating subsidy.
Westbank First Nation provided the land for both projects and will own and operate the buildings.
Construction will start in early February 2020 and is scheduled to be completed by spring 2021.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- Westbank First Nation Members can apply for the housing through WFN Property Management.
- Through the Indigenous Housing Fund, more than 1,100 homes are in development and under construction, including more than 110 homes in the Interior.
- BC Housing will issue a second call for proposals for the Indigenous Housing Fund this spring.
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.