Federal government funding $17M for housing in Saskatchewan First Nations

The newly allocated funds from the federal government can be used to build new homes or put towards homes that are in need of repairs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The federal government will be allocating $17 million to build 84 units of affordable housing for First Nations in Saskatchewan.

The announcement was released on Thursday by Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen. Hussen is also minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Hussen said in a press release that the government is taking steps to ensure every Canadian has access to a safe and affordable home.

“Our investments will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable housing units to vulnerable individuals and families, while addressing the unique barriers faced by communities such as First Nations in Saskatchewan,” Hussen said.

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Click to play video: 'With birth alerts done, affordable housing should be step 1: Saskatoon organizations'
With birth alerts done, affordable housing should be step 1: Saskatoon organizations

The 84 homes will be built in nine communities:  Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, Big River First Nation, Kahkewistahaw First Nation, Kinistin Saulteaux Nation, Lac La Ronge Indian Band, Muskoday First Nation, Saulteaux First Nation, Waterhen Lake First Nation and Witchekan Lake First Nation.

Parliamentary secretary to Hussen, Adam Vaughan, told reporters that the homes will be a combination of single-family and multi-residential units. Vaughan added that the money can also be put toward repairing houses in need.

Chief Kenny Moccasin of Saulteux First Nation, located 200 km north of Saskatoon, said that Saulteux is excited to have been selected for this funding which will build 15 new homes in the community.

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“These new homes will address overcrowding and allow us to bring Saulteaux members home to the community. Having family members close for First Nations has become ever more important during these pandemic times,” Moccasin said in a press release.

The $17-million investment is allocated from the Projects Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), which was first introduced in October 2020.

The RHI “provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential homes.”

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