Nadleh Whut’en First Nation is building six new homes in their community in Fort Fraser, west of Prince George.
The funds to support this program are shared as part of the province’s gaming revenue-sharing commitment, stated a Nov. 4 media release.
“We are pleased that the gaming revenue-sharing funds are available to support our home building program,” said Chief Larry Nooski, Nadleh Whut’en First Nation.
Over the next two years, the First Nations community plans on building 30 new homes for their members, Nooski added.
“I applaud Premier John Horgan and First Nations leadership on getting such an important revenue-sharing agreement done this year,” he said.
Due to the 2018 Shovel Lake Wildfire, some family homes in the community were found to have permanent damage due to smoke and water and were deemed unfit to live in, after comprehensive home inspections this summer.
As a result, Nadleh Whut’en is building two three-bedroom homes and four one-bedroom homes to replace them.
The first six family homes will provide safe new accommodations for two families. Additionally, four members of the community who are in need of proper housing will be moving into the smaller one-bedroom homes.
“The Nadleh Whut’en home building project is great news for this community, demonstrating how a stable, predictable source of funding can bring immediate and significant benefit to people and families,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
He said the First Nations community saw a clear need for housing and are making real changes and improvements which will have a positive impact on families for generations to come.
Nadleh Whut’en’s share of the gaming revenue is being leveraged with other sources to finance the Nadleh Housing Program, stated the news release.
Construction of these homes has begun, but is dependent on weather. The idea is to complete the project as quickly as possible since displaced community members have been forced to stay with friends and family since early September.
With 280 people living in Nadleh, there are only 74 homes, which results in overcrowding and maintenance issues with the housing stock. Other issues include members aging in deteriorating homes.
Seventy-six people are on a waiting list for housing in the community.
In August 2019, the Province transferred nearly $200 million to the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Limited Partnership, providing the first two years of shared gaming revenue available to all eligible First Nations in B.C. Distribution to individual First Nations began in October.