The B.C government is pledging $550 million over the next 10 years to build and operate 1,750 new units of social housing for projects, both on- and off-reserve in Indigenous communities. The funding will make British Columbia the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing.
“Everyone in British Columbia deserves a good home, including people who live on-reserve,” Premier John Horgan said. “That’s why we’re opening the door to all Indigenous communities to join us as we make housing better and more affordable for people in every part of the province.”
WATCH HERE: Housing issues facing BC First Nations residents
In addition to the new Indigenous Housing Fund, Indigenous organizations and First Nations will be able to access provincial support announced in Budget 2018. BC Housing will now send out a request for proposals to identify prospective partners wanting to team up with Indigenous housing providers and First Nations.
“Our government recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to be actively involved in developing and determining housing policies and programs affecting them,” Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser said. “We’ll be working closely with the Indigenous housing sector every step of the way, to make sure Indigenous peoples are partners in building this new housing.”
The funding is part of the provincial government’s “focus on building a true and lasting vision of reconciliation” and is part of more $250 million allocated over the next three years, in the areas of affordable housing, language revitalization, child care, mental health and addictions, poverty reduction, improved access to justice, skills training, emergency management and a revitalized environmental assessment process.
“We have never seen such a commitment from a provincial government for on-reserve housing investments,” British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee said. “First Nations in B.C. seek to improve a major gap in housing needs. This is an important step for building stronger First Nations communities.”