New funding supports are on the way for Indigenous housing initiatives across northern Alberta, including in Conklin.
Both federal and provincial governments will provide a total of $4.9-million to address the ongoing housing crisis.
Federal Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen said this was Ottawa’s National Housing Strategy at work.
“No relationship is more important to our government than the one with Indigenous Peoples. We are committed to supporting better housing outcomes for Indigenous communities, through the creation of more affordable homes.”
Hussen said the federal government will continue to work to provide Indigenous communities in northern Alberta and across the province with homes that meet their needs.
Thanks to the funding, the Conklin Resource Development Advisory Committee (CRDAC) will build 15 housing units in the hamlet.
CRDAC Director and President of Conklin Métis Local 193 Valerie Quintal called the funding transformative.
“Our housing situation has been unacceptable for a long time, but we never stopped working with numerous stakeholders and officials to achieve a solution grounded in solid local planning. To know that the day is in sight where families, elders and people in need can finally move into a new home will be cause for celebration throughout our community.”
Provincial funding comes from the Indigenous Housing Capital Program (IHCP).
It supports First Nations, Métis, and Inuit governments and communities in building affordable housing.
In a release, Cenovus Energy said it will also provide $2-million per year over five years towards the new Conklin subdivision, and future projects with the CRDAC.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from Indigenous communities in the areas where we operate that access to adequate housing is one of the most pressing issues they face,” Said Rhona DelFrari, Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice-President of Stakeholder Engagement at Cenovus. “That’s why Cenovus created its own $50-million Indigenous Housing Initiative to build new homes in six Indigenous communities in northern Alberta, including Conklin, and why we’ve committed to advocate for others in industry and government to do more on this issue.”
The estimated cost of the CRDAC project is $7.6-million.
While the CRDAC raised $1.2-million, the Alberta Social Housing Corporation (ASHC) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provided $4.4 million in funding.
The remaining $460,000 from both government will fund renovations at 17 units in Swan Hills on Swan River First Nation.
That project has an estimated cost of $810,000.
Swan River First Nation, which is located near Lesser Slave Lake, provided $350,000.
Funding for the 32 total affordable housing units is in response to recommendations from the 2020 Affordable Housing Review Panel.