First Nations Market Housing Fund Marks 5th Anniversary With 100 First Nation Partners

OTTAWA, ON, May 15, 2013 — Five years after opening its doors, the First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund) continues to gain momentum. In fact, the Fund, a tool created by the Government of Canada to broaden the range of housing options available to eligible First Nations, marks its 5th year in operation with the announcement of its 100th First Nation partner.

“Today is a great day for the Fund and for First Nations Communities across the country,” said John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund. “Every First Nation family deserves the opportunity to have a home on their own land, in a strong community, and the Fund is proud to be partnering with so many strong First Nation communities to help make this dream a reality.”

“The Assembly of First Nations is committed to continued advocacy efforts to ensure all First Nations have safe, adequate and affordable housing in their communities to address the continuum of need, including the ability to pursue homeownership. As such, we would like to recognize the efforts of the Fund over the past five years in getting First Nations approved for loan backing and supporting their goals,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.

Launched in May 2008, the Fund supports the creation of market-based housing agreements between First Nations and lenders. The Fund was created with a one-time federal investment of $300 million that can potentially be leveraged into $3 billion in on-reserve housing investments across Canada. Through its partnership with 100 First Nations communities across the country, the Fund now has over $500 million approved in potential loan credit for First Nations citizens to use in applying for housing loans to start on home renovation and construction, as well as for First Nations to provide rental accommodation.

“Malahat Nation, through my voice, welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the First Nations Market Housing Fund to deliver sustainable home ownership options for our citizens that will help us meet our goals for self-determination,” said Chief David Michael Harry. “Being the 100th First Nation to partner with the program clearly demonstrates how the new and innovative approaches the First Nations Market Housing Fund initiative provides are needed to meet the increasing demands of housing and healthy communities for our community and for all Aboriginals. We are pleased to be a part of this important milestone and the continued success of the First Nations Market Housing Fund.”

It is completely voluntary for First Nations to make use of the Fund’s market-based fund — which makes signing 100 partners all the more exciting. The Fund recognizes the differences amongst First Nation communities and works with them on their own timelines to provide them with the choice and flexibility they need to address their unique housing challenges.

“Five years is a great milestone for the Fund. We’ve come a long way,” said Mr. Beaucage. “Now that we’ve set the necessary groundwork, we look forward to being part of the housing solutions for First Nation Communities for many years to come.”

About the First Nations Market Housing Fund

The Fund is an innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage 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 became operational in May 2008.

The Fund helps First Nation communities by:

  • Providing a 10% backstop for housing loans guaranteed by the First Nation;
  • Providing financial leverage to negotiate with lenders that results in lower interest rates, reduced program access fees, risk sharing and administrative arrangements;
  • Strengthening First Nation communities and supporting the idea of self-sufficiency by providing new financial literacy and financial management tools, encouraging good governance and financial transparency and developing capacity with education, information and innovative services.

For more information, please visit the Fund’s website at www.fnmhf.ca.

Media Contacts:

Deborah Taylor
First Nations Market Housing Fund
613-740-9931

Robert Sagmeister
Malahat Nation
250-743-3231

Backgrounder

Malahat First Nation

The Malahat people, Me’ le’ xelh Mustimuhw, have resided on the western shore of the beautiful Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island since time immemorial, and have used the territories around their villages for hunting, fishing, berry gathering, and for ritual and ceremonial activities. There are 302 Malahat Nation members, with 121 people living within its two reserves of approximately 224 hectares near Mill Bay, Goldstream and the highland districts of Vancouver Island. The Malahat First Nation is a member government of the Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council and their ancestral tongue is the Hulquminum language.

The Malahat Nation was party to the historic Douglas Treaties signed between 1850 and 1854, and most recently have signed an Incremental Treaty Agreement transferring the Shawnigan Lands back to the Nation. This will provide increased lands, economic development opportunities and meaningful employment opportunities for Malahat Nation members.

The Nation’s housing portfolio, consisting of approximately 30 houses, is growing. Four new homes were constructed in the community just this year, with members taking possession March 1st. The Nation is removing barriers and following those teachings that contribute to the future generations of the Malahat Nation.

From left to right: Dean Harry Sr. (Councillor), Chief David Michael Harry, Russell Roger Harry (Councillor)
From left to right: Dean Harry Sr. (Councillor), Chief David Michael Harry, Russell Roger Harry (Councillor)