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New Affordable Homes for First Nations in Merritt

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New Affordable Homes for First Nations in Merritt

In a significant step towards addressing housing needs, a 52-unit development is underway in Merritt to provide more affordable rental homes for First Nations families, elders, and youth. The project, supported by the B.C. government’s $19-billion housing investment, aims to create a positive impact on the community by offering accessible and culturally safe housing.

Location and Features:

The four-storey building, located at 2640 Spring Bank Ave., will cater to members from five Nicola Bands: Upper Nicola Band, Lower Nicola Indian Band, Coldwater Indian Band, Nooaitch Indian Band, and Shackan Indian Band. The development includes a mix of studio and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, with 36 of them designed to be accessible or adaptable to accommodate varying accessibility needs. Each unit comes with a private balcony, fostering a sense of personal space and connection to the outdoors.

Community-Centric Living:

Managed by the Nicola Native Lodge Society, the housing project emphasizes intergenerational living, allowing elders and youth to share the same building. This aligns with the society’s vision for culturally safe housing, creating a community-centric environment. The building also features an amenity space for social gatherings and cultural ceremonies, contributing to the overall well-being of its residents.

Project Timeline:

With construction underway, the project is expected to be completed by spring 2025, marking a crucial milestone in providing much-needed housing for the community.

Community Voices:

Leaders from various Nicola Bands express gratitude for the initiative. Chief Arnie Lampreau of Shackan Indian Band reflects on the realization of a long-held dream, providing a chance for future generations to retire in a safe environment. Chief Stuart Jackson of Lower Nicola Indian Band acknowledges the project’s role in addressing housing shortages, expressing gratitude to those who turned the dream into a reality.

Government Support:

The B.C. government, through BC Housing, is contributing approximately $10 million to the project via the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund. Additionally, a joint contribution of approximately $1.3 million from the Canada-British Columbia Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy underscores the collaborative effort to address housing challenges.

Looking Ahead:

The completion of this housing project is not only a significant step in addressing the housing crisis but also a testament to the collaborative efforts of Indigenous communities and government partners. Michael Goetz, the mayor of Merritt, expresses enthusiasm for the distinctive and inclusive nature of the project, emphasizing its role in building a more integrated and supportive community.

As the construction progresses, the Spring Bank multi-unit development stands as a beacon of hope, fostering a sense of belonging, identity, and peace for First Nations families in Merritt.

Contacts:

Ministry of Housing
Media Relations
236 478-0251

Kevin Collins
Office of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure
and Communities
kevin.collins@infc.gc.ca

BC Housing
Media Relations
media@bchousing.org

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Media Relations
media@cmhc-schl.gc.ca


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