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Canada supports rapid housing for First Nations in B.C.

Press Release

May 4, 2021

Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to Canada’s recovery as communities across the country, including those in British Columbia, are dealing with the devastating impacts of rising levels of homelessness and housing need.

Today, Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Ken Hardie, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood – Port Kells, announced details of an approximately $10.8 million investment through the Projects Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) for the immediate construction of 34 units of affordable homes for First Nations in British Columbia.

34 new homes will be built in the following three Indigenous communities: Splatsin Nation, Shackan Indian Band, and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc.

Delivered by CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential homes. Investments made under the RHI are expected to support thousands of construction-related jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.


“Our Government is taking steps, right now, to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home. Our investments will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable housing units to vulnerable individuals and families, while addressing the unique barriers faced by communities such as First Nations in British Columbia. Our Government’s plan under the National Housing Strategy continues to provide affordable housing for those who need it most from coast to coast to coast.”

— The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

“Improving Indigenous housing outcomes must be a priority for the Government of Canada. That is why First Nations are a priority group under our government’s National Housing Strategy, and why we are working with Indigenous partners to build rapid housing. Together we are building a generation of new, permanent housing that we can all be proud of.”

— Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“The National Housing Strategy is working to ensure more affordable housing for Indigenous peoples. This funding is part of our commitment to addressing severe housing needs across the country. It will provide immediate support to create safe and stable housing for First Nations across British Columbia while assisting those most vulnerable.”

— Ken Hardie, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood – Port Kells

“We have not built homes in our community for over 20 years and our population continues to grow. Homes are critical to the health and well-being of members of Splatsin. Many community members are unable to come back to their community due to no available housing. There are also several families in an over-crowding situation on-reserve, and this will help relieve that stress for them. Although the 10-unit development is a positive change for the Nation, it is still not enough. There are approximately 30 families on a list to receive on-reserve housing.”

— Chief Wayne Christian of the Splatsin Nation

“As Chief of the Shackan Indian Band, I would like to thank you for the approval of the Rapid Housing Initiative for our community of Shackan. These homes are desperately needed within our community as the housing market has been so severely impacted by the effects of COVID-19. With the increase in rental rates, and shortage of low-income housing, this grant provides a means to allow our people to move to the safety of their home community. The benefits of our people moving home is profound, allowing them easier access to their language, culture and traditions. During this time of implementing UNDRIP, this housing initiative is a wonderful way to work towards reconciliation by supporting our families to be safe, healthy and connected to their culture.”

— Chief Arnie Lampreau of the Sxexn’x (Shackan) Indian Band

“Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS) welcomes Canada’s investment into our community so that we can build 10 units of affordable housing for low-income Elders on TteS lands. It is a priority of our Council and community to ensure that our most vulnerable members have a safe and affordable place to call home. TteS is also looking forward to the potential job creation that this project will have for members. This project supports our Community’s vision for more housing opportunities for our growing membership. We hope to continue to work with CMHC for future housing opportunities so that we can address the priorities outlined in TteS’ 5-Year Housing Plan and TteS Needs and Demand Study. Kukwstép-kucw for all those who have contributed towards getting this project developed and funde.”

— Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

Quick facts:

  • Under the RHI Projects Stream, $500 million was available through an application-based process, which closed on December 31, 2020. Funding was available to Provinces, Territories, and Municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations.
  • In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada invested an additional $1.5 billion in new funding for the Rapid Housing Initiative in 2021 2022, to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by providing them with permanent affordable housing.
  • At least 25 percent of this new funding will go towards women-focused housing projects. All units will be constructed within 12 months of when funding is provided to applicants.
  • This investment will more than triple the initial target set under the Rapid Housing Initiative as the program will now help create over 9,200 affordable housing units across the country.
  • The RHI has received significant interest from Indigenous groups, which resulted in nearly 40% of all units created under the program to be targeted to Indigenous peoples.
  • The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and others who are among the most vulnerable, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2+, racialized groups, Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
  • Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $70+ billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home — this includes more than $13 billion committed through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.

Associated links:

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Information on this release:

Mikaela Harrison
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
[email protected]

Leonard Catling
Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
[email protected]


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