A housing project on the Blood Tribe is creating temporary employment, while brining much-needed homes to the area.
The project, which started in July, employs 45 people who are working to build 25 homes.
It’s Acting Site Quality Supervisor Rainy Eagle Speaker’s job to make sure everyone stays on task.
“It’s a challenge getting everyone working, getting everybody here every day, but it’s going,” Eagle Speaker said.
“A lot of people have come from not having any employment to having full-blown employment and it’s kind of hard getting back on track and getting to work on time.”
Seven of the homes will be placed in Moses Lake, while three go in rural areas, and 15 in Standoff.
“The population of our tribe is around 13,000. On the reserve there is maybe about 5,000 and the housing inventory we have is about 1,400 units. So you can obviously know that the demand is there,” Blood Tribe housing director Rachel Tailfeathers said.
The $6.5 million project is a partnership between Blood Tribe housing, the province and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The Blood Tribe is forming a housing panel to help decide who can purchase the homes. The units are 1,250 square feet and because of their size, the homes will only go to families.
“Right on the application there are certain things that you would have to have,” Blood Tribe housing tenant relations officer Leslie Water Chief said. “Your income verification and then if you’re on social assistance, you would have to have your confirmation. Usually you have to have reference letters, you’d have to have a land verification form.”
Eagle Speaker hopes his mom might be able to move back to Standoff in one of these new homes. It’s those personal connections that help drive this work force.
“That’s all I tell the guys when we’re out here: ‘Build this like it’s your own house,’” Eagle Speaker said. “There’s no cutting corners here. I want them made perfect, if we could and that’s what I’m striving for is the perfect house.”
The units will be finished in December and the Blood Tribe hopes to keep building, with a possible two-year housing project beginning in January.