A new housing development will support Okanagan Indian Band members to stay or return to their home community, as construction begins on 16 affordable, on-reserve rental homes.
“Our government is proud to be working with the Okanagan Indian Band to help support their goal of increasing the number of members living in their community,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “We will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous organizations and First Nations to build homes like these to ensure that Indigenous peoples can live in their communities, surrounded by their culture.”
Located at Lot 48, Head of Lake Road and Lots 230 and 231 Pebble Park Lane. on Okanagan Indian Band Reserve No. 1, the project will provide rental homes for Indigenous peoples and small families with moderate and low incomes. The development will have one- and two-bedroom homes in four two-storey buildings. Four of the 16 homes will be wheelchair accessible.
The project will incorporate culturally appropriate design elements to showcase the Okanagan Indian Band’s culture, including a large-scale art piece by an Okanagan Nation artist for prominent display in one of the four buildings.
“Housing is always in short supply on reserve so the additional fourplex units will certainly help ease the housing situation,” said Chief Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band. “The additional housing will help meet immediate needs while providing longer-term options for people who live on reserve, and also for people who want to move back to the reserve. Housing helps bring the community closer together, which helps to preserve our culture and our unity. This housing will help on many fronts.”
The Province is providing $1.7 million from the Building BC: Community Housing Fund for the project. The Okanagan Indian Band provided the land and will own and operate the building.
B.C. is the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing, which is a federal responsibility. B.C. has also opened all its provincial housing programs to First Nations.
The new homes are expected to open in spring 2022