Twenty-four affordable housing units for Pool First Nation will be built in West Edmonton with funding from the county’s Indigenous Housing Capital Program.
Seniors and Housing Secretary Josephine Boone said the regional and federal governments will together provide $3 million for rental and rental units that will be located near 163 Street and 100 Avenue.
“This is an exciting project to mark the first time an IHCP-funded project has offered rent-to-own options to tenants. We support Bull Band’s plan to make ownership a reality for its members,” Boone said.
Paul First Nation is working with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to secure up to $4.5 million for the project and $250,000 in seed funding, while the City of Edmonton is providing a $1.5 million grant.
The project is also expected to support up to 50 jobs.
Paul First Nation president Arthur Ryan said members commute nearly daily to Edmonton for work or school, from the preserve located about 45 minutes out of town.
But housing has always been a problem for us in the reserve. “We have a huge demand for housing and over the years, our resource bases haven’t matched that demand,” Ryan said.
This project provides a place for members to live in Edmonton, he said, and will develop a hub for them.
“It’s a major step for our people,” Ryan said.
Paul First Nation Con. Myrna Rabbit said the housing project will pave the way for other First Nations in Alberta and Canada.
“Homelessness is a huge problem here, across Canada, across Turtle Island,” Rabbit said.
“Many of us who live on reservations, are faced with overcrowded homes and cannot house our many people. Then they decided to move to Edmonton either to continue their education or employment or just because we did not have enough homes. So today is one of the greatest opportunities for our people to own their own home.”
After the announcement, Rabbit said there are about 2,400 registered members with the First Nation, of whom 400 live on the reservation and about 500 of them live in Edmonton.
She said Monday’s announcement represents an exciting opportunity that will create more homes for Indigenous people. Families can apply for one of the homes by October 15, she said. The First Nation will also seek housing in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain.
“One of the greatest opportunities is to be able to own and own a home off the reserve,” Rabbit said. “So I think that’s a really good thing.”
The Edmonton housing project will be developed and built by Ara Concepts, and the units are expected to be completed by July 2023, Rabbit said.
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