First Nations Market Housing Fund Broadens its Reach in Ontario

WHITEHORSE, YK, July 17, 2013 — The First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund), a tool created by the Government of Canada to expand the range of housing options available to eligible First Nations continues to broaden its reach across the country. Today, the Fund announces its partnership with two more First Nation communities in Ontario – Beausoleil and Wahnapitae.

“As First Nations leaders gather for the 34th Annual General Assembly in Whitehorse today, it gives me great pleasure to announce additional First Nations who have chosen to work with the First Nations Market Housing Fund,” said John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund. “Today we celebrate Ontario First Nations with the addition of Wahnapitae and Beausoleil to our list of partners, and we also celebrate our success across the country. By working together to provide First Nations with more options to address housing needs, we are improving the economic well-being of First Nations citizens across Canada.”

Launched in May 2008, the Fund supports the creation of market-based housing arrangements 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 housing investments across Canada on-reserve and on settlement lands. Through its partnership with 107 First Nations communities across the country, the Fund now has over $555 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 accommodations.

“The criteria to access new modes of funding to construct and renovate homes on the Beausoleil First Nation has been longstanding,” said Chief Roland Monague. “This new initiative will certainly be well received by the members of the community. The ability to coordinate and control the construction or renovation of their homes will provide better autonomy and satisfaction by the client.”

It is completely voluntary for First Nations to make use of the Fund’s market-based fund. The Fund, which builds on the work of the Assembly of First Nations and the successes of innovative communities across Canada, 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.

“Wahnapitae First Nation is proud to be a part of First Nations Market Housing, and we look forward to working with the Fund to be able to offer our members more accessibility and ownership when it comes to building a home in our community,” said Chief Ted Roque.

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

Chief Ted Roque
Wahnapitae First Nation
705-858-0610

Chief Roland Monague or Amanda Mixemong
Beausoleil First Nation
705-247-2051

Backgrounder

Beausoleil First Nation

Beausoleil First Nation is situated at the Southern tip of Georgian Bay on Christian Island, Ontario. It is a small remote community, home to approximately 800 year round residents, and has a membership of approximately 2,214 people. The Island’s main access is by ferry transportation via the MV Sandy Graham or the MV Indian Maiden. During the winter months access can be by ice road or hovercraft. The Island is also referred to as Chimnissing, which means “Big Island” in the Ojibway language.

The First Nation consists of three Islands known as Christian, Hope and Beckwith, as well as 25 acres on the mainland at Cedar Point. Members predominately reside on Christian Island however several families live year round on Cedar Point.

The First Nation’s housing portfolio consists of 103 units while 130 homes are privately owned by Beausoleil First Nation members. All band-owned units and private homes on the Island and Cedar Point are serviced by communal water systems, and all have access to hydro, telephone, and high speed internet services. Beausoleil Fire and Rescue provide essential fire and rescue services, however the community also has its own EMS and Police Service.

This is all in line with the Beausoleil Housing department’s objective “to preserve and protect the assets of the community by providing services necessary for the administrative, financial, technical, and maintenance of First Nation owned homes and programs.”

Beausoleil First Nation plans to use the Fund’s backing to increase home ownership and renovation loan options for its members.

Wahnapitae First Nation

Wahnapitae First Nation (WFN) is an Ojibway community located in Northern Ontario. Its traditional name, Wahnapitaeping, means “place where the water is shaped like a tooth.”

Wahnapitae First Nation Indian Reserve #11 is accessible by all season roads from the town of Capreol, 50 km north of Sudbury. About 92 residents live year round in the community. The reserve land base is 3.2 kilometres by 3.2 kilometres on the north shore of Lake Wanapitei and covers approximately 1036 hectares of land. A pending land claim settlement may result in an increase.

Limited development has occurred on reserve lands, primarily along the north shore of Lake Wanapitei. There are 38 homes in the community and more than seventy surveyed residential lots.

There are approximately 340 registered band members. Citizens elect a Chief and four Councillors every three years under Band Custom code.

The community is surrounded by an abundance of natural resources and has benefit agreements with some developments in the mining sector (nickel and gold exploration/mining), forestry (pine and spruce harvesting) and tourist operations. There are several tourism related businesses owned by individual members. These include a licensed restaurant and four camp-trailer-cottage grounds. Band members residing on reserve are employed in Band administration, public works and other local sectors.

Wahnapitae First Nation is an expanding community with a growing population. It is working towards meeting the needs of the nation identified in its Community Development Plan, including Economic Development, Infrastructure and Watershed Management.

Through the backing of the First Nations Market Housing Fund, Wahnapitae First Nation plans to encourage its members to settle or return to the community, with the option of buying or building a home.

Wahnapitae First Nation is a signatory to the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 and member of the Anishinabek Nation.