Canada Supports Rapid Housing Projects for First Nations in Saskatchewan

Press Release

April 15, 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 Saskatchewan, are dealing with the devastating impacts of rising levels of homelessness and housing need.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced details of an approximately $17 million investment through the Projects Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) for the immediate construction of 84 units of affordable homes for First Nations in Saskatchewan.

84 new homes will be built in the following nine Indigenous communities: Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, Big River First Nation, Kahkewistahaw First Nation, Kinistin Saulteaux Nation, Lac La Ronge Indian Band, Muskoday First Nation, Saulteaux First Nation, Waterhen Lake First Nation, and Witchekan Lake First Nation.

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 Saskatchewan. This is the National Housing Strategy at work.”

— 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. Creating new stock of affordable and safe housing for indigenous peoples is just one way we can partner with First Nations to improve housing conditions and alleviate core housing need.”

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

“The Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) is a positive development towards eliminating some of the challenges we encounter due to lack of support and services for our most vulnerable citizens in our community. As a First Nation community, we have a long history of underserving the shelter needs of our citizens and like mainstream society, we also experience the risks and challenges of homelessness, inadequate shelter for the disabled and those living with mental health issues, lack of resources for families fleeing domestic violence, our LGBTQ2 members, and inadequate housing services for other citizens who are considered our most vulnerable. The Rapid Housing Initiative represents a wise investment in our community members and will help us alleviate some of the despair that comes with lack of adequate housing, extremely pleased to have been selected for this significant shelter initiative.”

— Chief Gregory Scott, Kinistin Saulteaux Nation No. 91

“Saulteaux is excited to have been selected for participation in the Rapid Housing Initiative. It will provide us the ability to build 15 new homes in our community. These new homes will address overcrowding and allow us to bring Saulteaux members home to the community. Having family members close for First Nations has become ever more important during these pandemic times.”

— Chief Kenny Moccasin, Saulteaux First Nation

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.
  • Nationally, at 4,700 units, the RHI has exceeded its initial target of 3000 permanent affordable housing units thanks to the support of the provincial, territorial and municipal governments as well as Indigenous governing bodies.
  • 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.

Media contacts:

Mikaela Harrison
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Leonard Catling
Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


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