October 12th, 2004
VICTORIA – An agreement to transfer management of 189 housing units from the provincial government to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) is an important step toward aboriginal self-management of social housing. The agreement formalized today is the first of its kind in Canada, and sets a precedent for future devolution of aboriginal housing towards self-management by the aboriginal community.
“Safe, affordable housing for aboriginal people should be managed by aboriginal people,” said Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services Murray Coell at a ceremony celebrating this historic occasion. “This will create new opportunities for aboriginal communities across the province to improve the lives of people by giving increased control over how all facets of their housing are managed.”
“This will allow aboriginal housing managers to use the security provided by safe, affordable housing to improve access to health, education and employment opportunities in ways that are consistent with the needs of aboriginals,” said AHMA president Ray Jones. “We have developed a self-management model that responds to the needs of aboriginal people, and it preserves and reinforces our cultural identity.”
Under the agreement, portfolio administration of 189 units of social housing operated by four aboriginal housing societies is being transferred from BC Housing to AHMA. It is an important step toward AHMA’s goal of complete aboriginal self-management of social housing.
AHMA was created in the mid-1990s in anticipation of the transfer of federal social housing, including aboriginal housing, from the federal to provincial governments. When a federal-provincial agreement is reached, AHMA will have the opportunity to assume portfolio administration of a further 2,800 units currently with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In the meantime, the transfer of the provincial aboriginal social housing will give AHMA management experience with a smaller portfolio.
AHMA, which represents 14 aboriginal housing associations in B.C., is committed to the self determination, management and delivery of affordable, quality housing to urban and rural aboriginal people throughout B.C.
Transfer of Aboriginal Social Housing to AHMA
|AHMA Member||Building Name & Location||No. of Units|
|M'akola group of Societies||White Road, Duncan||20|
|M'akola group of Societies||Tonto Rosette, Victoria||8|
|M'akola group of Societies||Lake Trail, Courtenay||42|
|M'akola group of Societies||Quadra Street, Saanich||22|
|To'o Housing Society||To'o Housing, MIssion||23|
|United Aboriginal Housing Society||Milestone Manor, Quesnel||31|
|Vernon Native Housing Society||Kikanee Estate, Vernon||40|
|Vernon Native Housing Society||Various Locations, Vernon||3|
Total – 189 units
BC Housing provides an annual rent subsidy of approximately $1.5 million to AHMA to distribute to the four societies for these 189 units.