COLWOOD - Indigenous individuals and families are moving into 124 rental homes they can afford, as doors have opened on a new development in Colwood.
"This project offers safe, affordable new housing for Indigenous peoples in Colwood, housing that is badly needed," said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. "Our government is proud to be working in partnership with Indigenous organizations and First Nations to build homes like these, and we continue to urge the federal government to match these investments for Indigenous peoples across the province."
Located at 342 Wale Rd., the six-storey building provides 70 one-bedroom units (six are accessible), 42 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units. All units are rent geared to income, with tenants paying no more than 30% of gross household income toward rent.
The focus of the project is on providing housing for Indigenous peoples in the Greater Victoria region, although some units are available to non-Indigenous families.
The project is a partnership between the Province, the Aboriginal Land Trust Society (ALT), Lu'ma Native Housing Society and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. The development is owned by ALT and is being operated by Lu'ma. The Huu-ay-aht First Nations helped ALT and Lu'ma with tenant selection.
At the entrance of the building is a 12-metre (40-foot) metal art installation entitled Healing Moon by contemporary Coast Salish artist Darlene Gait. Featuring a copper moon surrounded by four wolves, the image reflects health, balance and security.
- The Province provided a $24.8-million grant for the project through the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund and is providing annual operating funding of approximately $858,000.
- The Indigenous Housing Fund is a 10-year, $550-million investment to build and operate 1,750 new homes, on and off reserve. With this commitment, B.C. became the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing - a federal jurisdiction.
- Including these 124 new homes, there are more than 1,100 Indigenous Housing Fund homes completed or underway in 26 communities throughout B.C.
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing
What people are saying about new Indigenous housing in Colwood
Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin -
"Housing opportunities for Indigenous families and individuals that are affordable, culturally appropriate and inclusive were much needed in our community. I would like to acknowledge the partnership between the Province, the City of Colwood and Indigenous partners - Aboriginal Land Trust Society, Lu'ma Native Housing Society and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations - who worked hard to make these homes a reality."
Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Management Housing Association (AHMA) -
"AHMA is thrilled with the development and creation of this unique project owned by the Aboriginal Land Trust, operated by our members L'uma Native Housing and supported by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, BC Housing and the City of Colwood. AHMA believes it will enhance and foster a broader sense of community for Indigenous peoples and the community of Colwood. There remains a significant inequity in urban Indigenous housing in British Columbia. The delivery of this new culturally appropriate housing will help fill these gaps and empower future Indigenous residents."
Kent Patenaude, president, Lu'ma Native Housing Society -
"For over 40 years, Lu'ma has been providing safe and affordable housing, and we are thrilled to be part of this exciting affordable housing project for Indigenous families and singles in the City of Colwood. This is a great place for residents to have a sense of community and to enjoy family life. We are extremely proud that the project will exhibit artwork from local artists Ed Johnson of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Darleen Gait whose ancestry is from the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. We would like to acknowledge all our project partners. This project is a wonderful example of what can be achieved."
Dave Baspaly, president, Aboriginal Land Trust Society -
"We are pleased to work with our project partners: BC Housing, the City of Colwood, Lu'ma Native Housing and supported by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations to offer this unique housing. A Blessing Ceremony was held on June 5, 2019, at the site and was conducted by members of the local First Nations, including the Esquimalt and Songhees, on whose traditional territories of where the project is located. The local Nations have conducted the blessing of the land and releasing the spirits of our ancestors from the space and requesting guidance and support. This is both a wonderful and welcoming community with the project being close to transit links, the Juan de Fuca library branch, the Galloping Goose Trail, West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities and other resources. We are grateful that the project forged ahead as planned, even during the pandemic."
Rob Martin, mayor, City of Colwood -
"Colwood council recognizes that providing a diverse mix of housing options for people at every age and stage of life is essential to creating a vibrant, family-friendly community and a thriving economy. We are excited to welcome new residents to 342 Wale Road where they will enjoy easy access to local businesses and recreation with the Galloping Goose, Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre and the Lagoon beach just down the road."
Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing