Federal government supports rapid housing projects for First Nations in British Columbia

81 Federal government supports rapid housing projects for First Nations in British Columbia

LOWER NICOLA, BC, Nov. 16, 2023 /CNW/ – The federal government is investing nearly $84 million to support up to 218 new housing units for 24 Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia under the first two phases of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).

These projects will provide safe and secure housing to people who are at risk of homelessness, helping them to stay in their communities.

Funding includes:

  • $83.8 million through the RHI Project Stream
  • $2.3 million through BC Housing

The announcement was made at 2794 Cougar Crescent in Lower Nicola where a 14-unit, two-storey apartment building is under construction. These new homes are targeted for First Nation members of the community, specifically women children and Elders. The majority of the lower units have been designed keeping accessibility at the forefront – they have wider doors, roll-in showers and room to accommodate wheelchairs. The building will be energy efficient, following BC Step Code 3 guidelines. Construction is expected to be completed December 2023.

The RHI, delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as part of the National Housing Strategy helps to develop new, permanent affordable housing. It covers costs associated with the construction of multi-unit rentals, the conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes, and the rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned into affordable multi-residential homes. These investments made under the RHI are expected to support thousands of construction-related jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.


“The federal government’s support for these communities in British Columbia will ensure First Nations residents have access to safe, secure homes in their own communities. These projects not only deliver more housing, they also support the social and economic well-being all who live there. We are listening to our Indigenous partners and working with them to ensure their communities have housing that meets their needs. This is the National Housing Strategy at work.” –  The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities of Canada

“Across this country, there’s an urgent need for more and better-quality housing, especially for Indigenous peoples. This funding provides concrete support to First Nation communities in British Columbia. It will help keep people together. In partnership with Indigenous partners and provinces and territories, we are working to build rapid housing in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Our plan is ambitious, because access to safe and adequate housing is a human right. It is essential to one’s sense of dignity, safety, and inclusion and is critical to advancing self-determination and Reconciliation” Jenica Atwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

“Communities are stronger when people can remain, and age in place, in the communities they know. That’s why we are taking action to deliver affordable options in communities throughout B.C., so that our seniors can be supported and the cycle of homelessness can be broken.” – Ravi Kahlon, B.C. Minister of Housing  

“We are immensely grateful for the partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the support we’ve received from our community members. The construction of these 14 new housing units is a significant step forward in our efforts to provide safe and secure homes for our people. It reflects our commitment to addressing the pressing housing needs in our community. We believe that these housing units will not only provide shelter but also foster a sense of belonging and connection within the Lower Nicola Indian Band. We look forward to the positive impact these units will have on the lives of our members and the growth of our community as a whole. Following the successful completion of the 14-unit apartment building, our commitment to the Lower Nicola Indian Band extends into envisioning and implementing future housing projects that enhance community and addresses the evolving residential needs of the band members”Stuart Jackson, Chief, Lower Nicola Indian Band

Quick facts:
  • The federal government’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $82-plus billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
    • Launched in 2020, the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the NHS.
    • The first two rounds of the RHI exceeded expectations and are expected to create more than 10,000 units instead of the 7,500 initially planned. This includes more than 3,300 units to support women and more than 4,200 units to support Indigenous Peoples.
    • The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and other vulnerable people under the NHS, including women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, veterans, 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, racialized groups, and recent immigrants or refugees.
Additional Information:
  • As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford and that meets their needs. For more information, please visit cmhc.ca or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, please visit www.placetocallhome.ca.
  • For more information on Government of Canada housing initiatives: Housing Canada
Annex — funding for each project 

Project Name 

Number of Units 

Federal Funding

Other Funding

Toosey Indian Band Rapid Housing Initiative



$388,639 Toosey Indian Band

Cougar Crescent



$750,000 Lower Nicola Indian Band

Skeetchestn Housing Initiative



Nazko First Nation Rapid Housing



$100,000 Nazko First Nation

Much Needed Housing Project for Xeni Gwet’in


$ 2,977,481

Modular Homes


$ 1,446,490

$250,000 Columbia Basin Trust

Lhoosk’613,293 RHI 2uz Dene



$96,027 Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation

Williams Lake First Nations Housing Initiative


$ 613,293

$68,143 Williams Lake First nation

Nuxalk Nation Four Mile Rapid Housing Project



$337,755 Nuxalk Nation

Heiltsuk Housing – Triplexes



Old Massett Affordable Rental Housing



$852,689 OMVC

shíshálh Project A



Gitxaala Housing



$ 444,672 Gitxaala Housing

West Moberly Lake First Nation 2020 RFI – Phase 1



$258,965 West Moberly First Nation

West Moberly Lake First Nation 2020 RFI – Phase 2



$290,868 West Moberly First Nation

West Moberly Lake First Nation 2020 RFI – Phase 3



$197,567 West Moberly First Nation

Gitanyow Social Housing Development



$112,000 Gitanyow Band Council,

$600,000 Government of B.C., through BC Housing

Gitwangak Homelessness Initiative



Kispiox Social Housing Development



$1,500,000 Kispiox Band Council,

$1,700,000 Government of B.C., through BC Housing

Saik’uz Housing for Our Vulnerable (1)



$292,173 Saik’uz First Nation

Saik’uz Housing for Our Vulnerable (2)



$146,086 Saik’uz First Nation

Saik’uz Housing for Our Vulnerable (3)



$257,391 Saik’uz First Nation

Takla Nation Affordable Housing Initiative



$939,820 Takla Nation

Elders Housing Initiative (Tl’azt’en Nation)



Binche Affordable Housing



Burns Lake RHI



Stellaten Phase 4



$264,500 Stellaten First Nation

McLeod Lake Indian Band Welcome Home Project



$323,716 McLeod Lake Indian Band






SOURCE Government of Canada

rt Federal government supports rapid housing projects for First Nations in British Columbia

Featured image: Deposit Photos © Jirsak