The province is partnering with Westbank First Nation to build 17 new affordable homes on the Westbank reserve.

The Indigenous Housing Fund, launched in 2018, made BC the first province to invest in on-reserve housing. $550-million will be spent to build and operate 1,750 new homes over the course of 10 years. Homes will be both on and off reserve for indigenous peoples. The Westbank First Nation homes are one of the first of a series of projects which were selected to receive funding in November 2018.

The first housing unit will be a two-storey apartment building located at 1920 Falcon Lane. The apartments will be a mix of one and two bedroom units, with the two-bedroom and ground floor apartments serving Elders and band members who require an accessible layout. Rents are projected to be $400 – $570 per month. The project will also include a $2.8million provincial government grant through the Indigenous Housing Fund, as well as an annual operating subsidy.

The second complex, located at 1910 Fox Road, will consist of three townhomes for member families. Each townhome will be two-bedrooms with a kitchen, living and dining area, as well as one and a half bathrooms. The Fox Road project will also receive an annual operating subsidy and a $600,000 grant from the Indigenous Housing Fund.

Westbank First Nation will own and operate both buildings, which will be constructed on reserve lands.

“Our Council strives to ensure that all WFN Members are afforded housing opportunities that meet current needs and our long-term housing goals,” said Chief Christopher Derickson, WFN. “We are very pleased with both housing projects that will be developed in partnership with BC Housing on Falcon Lane and Fox Road. Providing 17 new housing options allows us to continue to support our Membership with affordable housing while working towards our long-term vision of revitalizing our community core.”

The Indigenous Housing Fund has provided grants for more than 1,100 homes currently in development and under construction, with more than 110 of those in the Interior.

“Housing is the foundation on which people build their lives. With these homes, more WFN Members will be able to stay in their home community, surrounded by their culture and tradition,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Our government is proud to be working in partnership with First Nations, Indigenous leaders and Indigenous housing providers to build much-needed new, affordable homes like these for Indigenous peoples throughout B.C.”

Construction will begin in Feb. 2020 and projected completion is spring 2021.