Construction is getting underway on a new housing development designed for Indigenous peoples in the workforce on the Tsawout First Nation in Central Saanich.
“This project will help working people in Saanich stay connected to their culture, communities and families,” said Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South. “We will continue to work in partnership with First Nations and Indigenous housing partners to deliver more much-needed affordable housing, both on and off reserve.”
The five-storey building will have 24 two-bedroom suites, three three-bedroom suites and one fully accessible suite, all designed to meet the needs of working families. The homes are being built through a partnership between the Province through BC Housing, the Salish Sea Housing Society and the Tsawout First Nation.
“The Tsawout First Nation is thrilled to work with BC Housing to have affordable housing for working families built on our traditional territories,” said Chief Harvey Underwood, Tsawout First Nation. “There are many jobs opening up right now, but without an affordable place to live, it is harder for people to access these jobs. We are pleased that these 28 units will be built to a high environmental energy standard, which fits with the values of our First Nation.”
Amenities include dishwashers and washer/dryer hookups in each unit, a common laundry facility, storage lockers and bike storage, covered parking and internet access. Reflecting the desire to create community among residents, there will be a playground and a communal space for barbecuing and gatherings.
“Once the Salish Sea Housing Society identified the strong need for workforce housing on the traditional W̱SÁNEĆ territory, they embarked on a mission to fill this gap in housing options,” said Ron Rice, chair, Salish Sea Housing Society. “We are so excited to see this vision actualized and are grateful to our project partners.”
Rents will be confirmed closer to the opening date, but will be well below market rents in the area – approximately $655 for a two-bedroom unit and $750 for a three-bedroom. The housing is expected to be ready for occupancy in spring 2023.
- The Province is providing a grant of $5.6 million for the project through the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, interim construction financing and annual operating subsidies of $425,894 for the next 25 years.
- The Indigenous Housing Fund is a 10-year, $550-million investment to build and operate 1,750 new homes, on and off reserve. With this commitment, B.C. became the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing, which is a federal responsibility. B.C. has also opened all its provincial housing programs to First Nations.
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/