A housing project launch at Akisq’nuk First Nation in March 2019. Pioneer file photo

Funding announced for First Nations housing

More than $1 million between Akis’qnuk and Shuswap for renos and new housing initiatives

Akisq’nuk First Nation and Shuswap Indian Band will be getting over a million dollars in new and improved housing following a funding announcement from the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) on Thursday, May 30th.

Akisq’nuk First Nation is receiving $889,000 to build 29 new units and improve four existing ones, while Shuswap Indian Band is getting $200,000 in funding for four new units and to restore five additional homes.

The CBT’s Mark Brunton, Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits, said the organization went to each community to talk about their needs and to discuss the projects they would like to see. Then the CBT divvied up $2.9 million between First Nations in the Columbia Basin.

“We are very excited about this program in general. We think housing is essential for healthy and resilient communities, and the Trust has identified working with First Nations and affordable housing both as strategic priorities for us,” he said.

Donald Sam, Akisq’nuk chair of the housing committee, advocates for investing in homes as one of the first steps to enhancing his community.

“We can’t be looking at learning language and culture when we can’t even put a roof over our heads,” Mr. Sam said in March 2019 when the first of a series of housing projects opened after roughly 25 years.

Following Thursday’s announcement, many more of the Valley’s First Nations residents will have a new or improved place to call home.

The Pioneer could not reach Akisq’nuk and Shuswap representatives for their comments prior to press time.

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