CALGARY – HOUSING – “We want to raise the quality of life and this starts in the home. Our Nation was devastated with the flooding that occurred in 2013 and we are still reeling from the loss of homes. The First Nations Market Housing Fund provides our members with the opportunity to pursue their homeownership dreams, and we are excited as this has been a top priority for the Siksika Nation,” said Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman of the Siksika Nation in Alberta.
The Blackfoot First Nation is the first community to access a housing fund that provides individuals residing on reserve with access to private financing for homeownership. The Siksika Nation is the first to give this opportunity to their members, as the Nation is treading in a new area in housing in Alberta.
The Fund is an innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada designed to give First Nation members greater access to housing loans on reserve and on settlement lands.
The plan was born out of what has become known as the Kelowna Accord. Prior to the Fund, First Nations had limited to no access to finance their own home on reserve until the Fund was established in May 2008. The federal government made a one-time investment of $300 million. This investment, held in trust, has the potential to leverage $3 billion in investments in housing on reserves and on settlement lands and lands set-aside for First Nations across Canada.
“It is a privilege to be invited to celebrate with the Siksika Nation as they bless the first home financed with a loan backed by the First Nations Market Housing Fund. It is truly inspiring to be here and feel the joy that comes from building your own home on your own land. On behalf of the Fund’s Trustees and staff, I congratulate the Siksika Nation and their Chief and Council for turning their vision into reality, and I thank them for inviting the Fund to be a partner,” said John Beaucage, Chair of the Trustees of the First Nations Market Housing Fund.
“We are building two homes through individual loans financed through the Bank of Montreal and backed by the Fund and see this as an opportunity for our Nation members. The Siksika Nation is also providing options for citizens to access financing to purchase and renovate homes. We are looking to the First Nations Market Housing Fund as a long-term partner and we are grateful for the opportunity to create a variety of housing options for our citizens. The Siksika Nation sees the home as a sacred space, a place for families to gather and celebrate who we are as Peoples!” concluded Chief Yellow Old Woman.
The Siksika Nation is located in Treaty No. 7 territory in what is known as southern Alberta. The Nation prides it self with the infrastructure they created. From Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park to their Siksika Health and Wellness Centre. The Nation also has access to Emergency Services, Police Station and Courthouse on their Nation. They own and operate, Old Sun College and the Deerfoot Sportsplex .The community of 7500 members, has the second largest land- mass in Canada and is successful in optimizing opportunities for their Nation.