Government support New Homes for Indigenous People in Courtenay

May 8, 2023

COURTENAY – Indigenous Elders, individuals and people living with disabilities with low to moderate incomes will soon have access to 40 new affordable homes in Courtenay.

Located at 1679 McPhee Ave., Naut’sa mawt (meaning “together as one”) will be a five-storey building featuring a mix of studio and one-bedroom homes close to amenities, such as the Wachiay Friendship Centre, public transit, a community centre and commercial services. Construction will soon be underway and is expected to be completed in late 2024.

With a combined investment of more than $10.4 million, the project is in partnership between federal, provincial and local governments, and community partners.

Wachiay Friendship Centre Society (WFCS) will own the building and will provide culturally appropriate and relevant programming and supports for their clients, including a gathering space for residents to host cultural events, such as feasts and storytelling. M’akola Housing Society will provide operational services through a mentorship agreement with WFCS.

The WFCS is a non-profit organization that provides services to more than 7,000 urban-dwelling Indigenous people in the region. The organization delivers more than 50 programs and services to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

“It has been a dream of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society to create affordable housing for over 20 years,” said Monica Goodheart, president of the WFCS. “Through the hard work of the staff and board of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society, it is now happening. Wachiay is very proud to be able to provide even more support to the community we all love.”

Funding provided for the project:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, is contributing $4.5 million through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund; $2.7 million through a grant to address cost pressures; and an annual operating subsidy that is being finalized.
  • The federal government, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is providing $2 million through its Co-Investment Fund.
  • The Comox Valley Regional District is providing $260,000 through a homelessness supports service grant.
  • The City of Courtenay is providing a fee exemption of almost $90,000.
  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is providing a grant of $25,000.
  • Wachiay Friendship Centre Society is contributing the land, valued at approximately $878,000 and $5,000, toward the project.
  • The project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the BC government. Since 2017, the Province has delivered more than 74,000 new homes that have been completed or are underway, including nearly 230 homes in Courtenay.

“It’s so great to see this project moving forward in Courtenay with the construction of this affordable and culturally appropriate housing for Indigenous people in our region and with the collaboration with the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society and M’akola Housing Society. The Province is making significant efforts to tackle the housing crisis in British Columbia. The City of Courtenay is excited for this much-needed investment in our community and pleased to provide our support,” Bob Wells, mayor of Courtenay.

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