Every First Nation family has the opportunity to have a home on their own land in a strong community.
More First Nations in Ontario Sign on With the Fund
OTTAWA, December 16, 2010 — Serpent River First Nation and Moose Cree First Nation have chosen to work with the First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund) and have qualified for the backing of housing loans, announced John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund. Members of these two First Nations will now have easier access to housing loans on reserve.
“This is a great day to celebrate new opportunities in Ontario,” said Mr. Beaucage. “These communities are quite different in location, size and population, yet they are similar in their drive to strengthen their housing and indeed their communities, with the support of the Fund. This is further demonstration of the Fund’s wide appeal to First Nations across Canada, including those in rural and remote locations.”
Both First Nations will use the Fund to help their members buy or build homes on their reserves. They will also offer members the chance to renovate their homes with access to loan financing on their communal lands.
“The First Nations Market Housing Fund signals another important milestone in providing meaningful housing options for Serpent River First Nation,” said Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini. “This initiative is more than just a program. The Fund will allow our administration to build on our 25 year success of Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) projects in the community and enhance the current housing options to our Citizens. We are proud to provide that next step in advancing the housing goals of our Community in a manner that clearly plants another important pillar in our Nation-building exercise.”
Moose Cree First Nation Chief Norm Hardisty noted that his community is dependent on the local economy and its labor force to achieve good quality housing well into the future. “The First Nations Market Housing Fund has provided us with an excellent opportunity for better housing along with the capacity development needed to sustain employment for our people. Our hats go off to the Government of Canada and CMHC in creating a partnership between Moose Cree First Nation and the Fund. This partnership can only improve living conditions for the people of Moose Cree and address the housing backlog we have experienced for decades,” said the Chief. Chief Hardisty and his Council hope that the excellent work fostered by these four parties continues to benefit the members of Moose Cree First Nation.
The Fund is an innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada through CMHC to give First Nation members greater access to housing loans on reserve and on settlement lands, where appropriate. The $300 million fund became operational in 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. In addition to this announcement in Ontario, the Fund also welcomes Tk’emlups Indian Band and Seabird Island Band as participating First Nations in British Columbia.
For more information, please visit the Fund’s website at www.fnmhf.ca.
Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini
Serpent River First Nation
Serpent River First Nation (SRFN) — Chi Genebek Ziibing Anishinabek is an Ojibway, Odawa, and Pottawatomi community located on the north shore of Lake Huron, approximately 140 kilometers west of Sudbury — 30 kilometers south of the City of Elliot Lake. As a signatory to the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850, the Anishinaabe of SRFN takes seriously their Treaty responsibilities and vested interests within their traditional territory.
The community has had numerous resource development impacts over the past four decades, more so with the closed uranium mining industry. SRFN has been a player in the forestry and fisheries sectors over the last century and continues to be involved in those sectors today. With a total population of over 1200 citizens — 360 presently reside in the community — SRFN sees greater potential with other land use developments on-reserve, including housing. They have recently completed a new recreation centre and are working at improving their Water Treatment Facility in the community.
The community currently operates a successful gas-bar and Trading Post retail business with plans for greater employment opportunities. For example, with a fifty kilometer shoreline the SRFN Development Corporation is looking at the potential leased cottage lot development. They are also pursuing an expanded involvement in the energy sector beyond their run-of-the-river power generator within their traditional territory, and as a partner with the Lake Huron Region of Chiefs Energy Distribution Project.
Serpent River currently has an existing stock of some 155 homes with a mix of individual homeownership and rental units. The SRFN intends to use the First Nations Market Housing Fund to make it easier for its members to access housing loans on reserve, to purchase and/or renovate existing homes, and to build new homes.
SRFN is a member of the North Shore Tribal Council and the Union of Ontario Indians.
Moose Cree First Nation
Moose Cree First Nation is located in the community of Moose Factory on an island near the mouth of the Moose River at the southern tip of James Bay. It is 246 kilometers north of Cochrane, Ontario. The closest major urban centre is Timmins, Ontario. In 1905, Moose Cree became a signatory to Treaty 9 through which the First Nation was allocated two tracts of reserve land for its use. The reserve is 299 hectares in size and has an on-reserve population of approximately 1,700 people, out of a total band population of approximately 3,950 people. The other reserve, located further south of James Bay is in excess of 17,000 hectares in size and is largely unpopulated.
Moose Factory is considered to be an isolated community. It is accessible via water taxi during three seasons from the town of Moosonee, on the mainland. During the winter months, road access to the island is also available. Moosonee has no road access and can only be reached by plane or train.
The economy of Moose Factory, as a whole, is made up of several main sectors including the public service, tourism, construction, the bush economy and private businesses. Additionally, the First Nation has been seeking to diversify its economy through partnerships and other ventures with the goal of improving the economic outlook for its members. Recently, the First Nation entered into an agreement with Ontario Power Generation. It is also currently negotiating an agreement with Detour Gold and has completed construction of an Aboriginal eco-tourist project known as Washow Lodge. Each of these projects is expected to result in significant economic benefit to the community. Further, the First Nation has provided facilities such as a shopping complex and indoor arena for the use and enjoyment of its members.
The housing portfolio in the community is a mix of rental and privately owned homes. Chief and Council have shown a keen interest in addressing the shortage of housing through upgrades, the elimination of substandard homes and new housing. The community intends to use the First Nations Market Housing Fund to make it easier for its members to access housing loans on reserve, to purchase and/or renovate existing homes, and to build new homes, thus improving the quality of housing available to its membership.