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First Nations to get $15M from Housing Accelerator Fund

The federal government announced agreements to fast-track housing in nine First Nations.
Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu makes an announcement April 5, 2024, in Long Lake #58 First Nation.

WAPEKEKA FIRST NATION – The way Chief Brennan Sainnawap sees it, $1.8 million in federal Housing Accelerator Fund money won’t solve all his First Nation’s housing problems, but it sure helps.

“It will help our housing needs a bit, anyway,” he said Friday after Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu announced agreements to fast-track more than 200 housing units over the next three years in nine First Nations in Northern Ontario.

The agreements will provide more than $15 million in total to Long Lake #58, Red Rock Indian Band, Whitesand, Webequie, Wunnumin Lake, Aroland, Muskrat Dam Lake and Shoal Lake 40 as well as Wapekeka for housing initiatives.

“We need more houses for our community,” Sainnawap said in a phone interview. “We have a housing shortage.”

He estimated Wapekeka needs 40 new houses “to make sure everybody has a house.”

On top of a housing shortage, the First Nation northeast of Big Trout Lake has mould issues in some homes, he said.

“This announcement is welcome, let’s put it that way,” Sainnawap said. “But it doesn’t really clear up what our housing needs are.

“All I can say is, we’d like to thank the government for at least giving us some money to work with.”

Wapekeka and Wunnumin Lake’s planned initiatives include the development of a new process for building and construction permitting, an aggregate supply study and a review of infrastructure needs in their communities to support growing populations and close the housing gap.

The two First Nations will also purchase construction tools and equipment and establish a quonset warehouse to store building materials, according to a news release from the federal government.

The planned initiatives for Long Lake #58, Whitesand, Webequie, Aroland and Muskrat Dam Lake include community consultations, creating new serviced lots for housing development and establishing relationships with non-profit housing partners in collaboration with a housing supply coordinator.

Shoal Lake 40’s plans include the design and construction of new subdivisions to address short- and long-term needs.

Besides Wapekeka’s $1.8 million, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s accelerator fund has also allocated:

  • $1.8 million for Wunnumin Lake First Nation
  • $2.6 million for Long Lake #58 First Nation
  • $531,000 for Red Rock Indian Band
  • $1.4 million for Whitesand First Nation
  • $1.1 million for Webequie First Nation
  • $2.4 million for Aroland First Nation
  • $1.7 million for Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation
  • $2.1 million for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

“Indigenous peoples and every Canadian deserve a safe place to call home,” Hajdu said in Long Lake #58, where she made the funding announcement on behalf of the federal housing minister.

“This investment is helping make this a reality for Indigenous families in Northern Ontario and across the country.

“It will accelerate the construction of safe and affordable housing to meet the unique needs of communities. This is essential for Indigenous children to have the fair chance at success that they deserve.”

Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After working at newspapers across the Prairies, Mike found where he belongs when he moved to Northwestern Ontario.
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