Pilot project tackling First Nation housing crisis one tiny home at a time

Pilot project tackles First Nation housing crisis 1 tiny home at a time
WATCH ABOVE: Piikani Nation elder Joyce Little Mustache became a proud homeowner for the first time, thanks to the tiny home pilot project that saw youth working with sponsors and Your Choice Homes Inc. to help combat the current First Nations housing crisis.

Joyce Little Mustache is an elder of the Piikani Nation and, after a life of hardships, is finally a homeowner, thanks to a tiny home pilot project.

“I’ve lived here, there and everywhere until I retired and said it’s time to settle down,” she said.

“It’s going to be really nice to say that I have a home.”

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READ MORE: From start to finish: First Nation students learn to build tiny homes

Working her entire life to support her children and those around her, Little Mustache is a survivor of all that life has thrown at her. She’s also an optimist.

“I’m a survivor… Working hard, being a single parent and not having the things I needed, but I tried hard and worked hard all my life.”

Little Mustache is just one of many Canadians experiencing first-hand the current housing crisis, but now, after eight weeks of development, she’s looking forward to unpacking her boxes.

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“This has really been a dream that I still can’t believe and I’ll probably scream when I move in.”

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Funded by the federal government, this pilot project is the first of its kind in Alberta.

It aims to tackle not only housing issues but also offer work experience to Indigenous youths, helping them overcome future employment barriers.

“In listening to the communities, we found these disconnects,” said Jay Noel from Your Choice Homes Inc. “One of them was in practical art credits in high school and another one was in the lack of single adult living.

“With First Nation communities, being able to bring housing and education together was such an opportunity for First Nation youth.”

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Working with sponsors and students to build these tiny homes from the ground up, the Piikani Nation hopes this pilot project will continue to provide future opportunities and homes for so many that need them.