Every First Nation family has the opportunity to have a home on their own land in a strong community.
First Nations in British Columbia Embrace New Housing Options
OTTAWA, December 16, 2010 — First Nation members in British Columbia have more housing options thanks to their Chiefs and Councils who have chosen to work with the First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund). John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund, announced today that Tk’emlups Indian Band (TIB) and Seabird Island Band have been approved for the backing of housing loans through the Fund’s Credit Enhancement Program.
“We welcome the participation of these two renowned First Nations. Each one has demonstrated housing innovation in the past. The Fund is excited to be helping them meet their future housing goals,” said Mr. Beaucage.
Both First Nations plan to use the Fund to help their members buy or build homes on their communally-held lands. They will also offer members the chance to renovate their homes with access to loan financing on reserve.
“The Market Housing Fund is an important step for our people. TIB is always looking at innovative solutions towards meeting sustainable housing for our membership,” said Chief Shane Gottfriedson. “We strongly believe in taking advantage of investment opportunities that will help create affordable housing opportunities for our community members. A top priority for us as a band is to help our people become self-sufficient.”
“The Seabird Island Band is looking forward to working with the First Nations Market Housing Fund on another avenue for housing. It has been needed for a long time. We appreciate that the Fund will provide the experience that comes along with the program and that it will ensure all those involved will have the capacity to proceed at each stage,” stated Chief Clem Seymour.
The Fund is an innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to give First Nation members greater access to housing loans on reserve and on settlement lands, where appropriate. The $300 million fund has been in operation since May 2008.
The Fund is pleased to be working with other First Nations already approved for Credit Enhancement in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia.
Today, the Fund also announced the approval of Moose Cree First Nation and Serpent River First Nation, two Ontario communities that have also chosen to work with the Fund.
For more information, please visit the Fund’s website at www.fnmhf.ca.
Chief Clem Seymour
Tk’emlups Indian Band
The Kamloops Indian Band (KIB), also known as the Tk’emlups Indian Band, is one of the largest of the 17 groups into which the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation was divided when the Colony of British Columbia established an Indian reserve system in the 1860s.
The KIB is part of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, which represents ten of the seventeen Secwepemc band governments. KIB has now fulfilled a vision established 40 years ago, to pursue business endeavours within reserve lands through corporate entities and advance financial sustainability. The Band currently has approximately 1,100 members living on and off its 33,000-acre reserve. It has active language and cultural programs and its Sk'elep School of Excellence is one of the largest First Nation elementary schools in British Columbia.
The corporate entities include opportunities in the forestry, a working ranch, an industrial park of 350 tenants and its highly showcased land lease development, Sun Rivers. KIB is the first, First Nation Government to exercise its authority to tax non- Indian interests and develop business partnerships outside of reserve boundaries, as well as internal opportunities such as their KIB Utilities Corporation.
KIB is committed to providing safe, affordable, quality homes to its members by creating a self-sustaining, independent approach that allows for KIB to build, buy, rent and repair homes according to community needs and priorities. Support from the First Nations Market Housing Fund will make it easier for its members to access housing loans on reserve, to purchase and/or renovate existing homes and to build new homes.
KIB has established a unique progression that demonstrates strength in economic diversification and with their willingness to enter into relationships and partnership has lead to secure well-being for their people.
Seabird Island First Nation
Seabird Island First Nation is located in the upper Fraser Valley near the town of Agassiz, British Columbia. The name Seabird Island is derived from the June 1858 grounding of the paddle wheeler Sea Bird on an island in the Fraser River across from a Halq’emeylem village located at a point traditionally called Sqewqéyl, or “turn in the river.” In 1958, Seabird Island was designated an independent band.
Today, Seabird Island is a service hub for several regional First Nations communities due to its high level of administrative capacity and quality delivery of services and programs, including health and social programs, early childhood education, employment and training services, and fire and rescue services.
The community is known for good governance and has been recognized for an innovative environmentally-sensitive housing project completed in 2004, which was designed to provide quality, affordable rental housing on-reserve. The homes have a lifespan of 100 years, over double the length of most homes on reserve.
Seabird Island First Nation exists to promote a healthier, self-sufficient, self-governing, unified and educated community. Its decisions are guided by a commitment to realize Vision 2020, a strategic multi-year plan to achieve physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and cultural balance for all members of the community.
Band leadership will use the Fund to train staff and create more home ownership and market-based housing options for their members, who are increasingly able to build and purchase homes using their own income thanks to Seabird Island’s diversified economic development activities.