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Posted: November 4, 2019

39-unit affordable housing project underway

Construction is underway on 39 new affordable rental homes for Indigenous peoples in Cranbrook through a partnership between the B.C. government, Aqanttanam Housing Society and the City of Cranbrook.

“Many Indigenous people don’t have access to the affordable housing they need,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Reconciliation means continuing to work in partnership with Indigenous leaders, Indigenous housing providers and First Nations to build much-needed new, affordable homes like these for Indigenous peoples across B.C.”

The province is partnering with the Aqanttanam Housing Society, the Aboriginal Housing Management Association and the City of Cranbrook to build the Chief Agnes McCoy Centre, a mix of below-market rent and low-cost homes for Indigenous families, Elders, seniors and individuals. The three-storey wood-frame building, located at 619 Sixth St. NW, will include one, two- and three-bedroom units.

“Aqanttanam Housing Society would like to thank the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the City of Cranbrook and Columbia Basin Trust for its support through the Indigenous Housing Fund for assisting in the development of 39 new homes for affordable housing. There is a serious shortfall of clean, safe and affordable housing in the City of Cranbrook,” said Austin Parisien, executive director, Aqanttanam Housing Society.

“This new building will make a difference for many but will not solve the growing problem in our city. This project will satisfy only 25% of those on our waiting list who are in desperate need of housing. We plan to continue our quest to house all those in need of affordable housing for Indigenous families, seniors and individuals in Cranbrook, and look forward to the second call for proposals under the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund in the spring of 2020.”

The society provided the land for the project and will own and operate the building. The province is providing $7.8 million through the Indigenous Housing Fund, an annual operating subsidy of approximately $24,000, as well as construction financing. Columbia Basin Trust provided a $454,200 grant for the project.

Cranbrook council approved zoning and official community plan amendments for the project in July 2018.

Mayor Lee Pratt

“This is a great project serving a huge need in our community. Our vacancy rate has been at a critical stage for some time and this will help alleviate some of that. Affordable housing is an issue throughout the province, and the City of Cranbrook is thankful the Aqanttanam Housing Society recognized this and was chosen to receive support. We are also very thankful to Columbia Basin Trust for its support,” said Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt.

“Non-profits work hard to build affordable housing that basin communities need, often with limited staff and resources. The trust has partnered with the Aqanttanam Housing Society throughout the project from concept to construction funding. An incredible amount of effort has already gone into this project with construction about to begin. These affordable housing units will be a significant addition to Cranbrook as we continue supporting healthy and resilient communities,” stated Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO.

“Aqanttanam Housing Society recognizes the importance and the need for more Indigenous and affordable housing in Cranbrook,” said Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association. “The 39 new homes here at 619 Sixth St. NW will make a significant difference in the lives of all its future residents. AHMA works to support our members like Aqanttanam Housing Society as they build homes to meet the needs of our Indigenous communities. We are committed to creating and sustaining meaningful projects and programs to enable our Indigenous community members to live their best quality of life.

“We’d like to thank Austin Parisien and his entire team for their tenacious dedication to Indigenous Housing, as well as all the partners involved in this special project, including the Government of British Columbia and the City of Cranbrook. Together, through these partnerships, our members are able to provide affordable housing and services to meet the needs of all our communities’ most vulnerable.”

Construction for this project started in September 2019 and is scheduled to be complete by fall 2020.

Monthly rents are projected to be: for 24 one-bedroom units – $544 per month; for 12 two-bedroom units – $660 per month; and three three-bedroom units for $821 per month.

People can apply for this housing through BC Housing’s housing registry.

This housing development is part of the first series of projects selected to receive funding through the Indigenous Housing Fund, a $550-million investment over 10 years to build and operate 1,750 new units of social housing, both on- and off-reserve.

More than 1,100 of these homes are in development and under construction, including 162 homes in the Interior.

Lead image: An artist’s drawing of the project. Columbia Basin Trust image

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