$5.1M granted for local Indigenous, Métis affordable housing
Medicine Hat’s Community Housing Society and Miywasin Friendship Centre have been granted $5.1 million in funding to oversee construction of 20 new affordable housing units for Indigenous and Metis community members.
Funded through Canada’s National Housing Strategy plan and Alberta’s Indigenous Housing Capital Program, the 14 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom rental units will be available to local Indigenous and Metis individuals, couples and families facing homelessness or housing insecurity.
“We are thrilled that this funding announcement came through,” Jaime Rogers, MHCHS’ homeless and housing development manager, told the News. “When we look at the (current) housing needs, we’re seeing, first, a struggle across all different populations about the need for affordable housing; but we can definitely see additional struggles in various states from our Indigenous and Metis community members.”
Miywasin executive director Jeannette Hansen says deep-rooted societal stigma, discrimination and racism against Indigenous and Metis peoples often limits the number of housing options available, which is especially detrimental to those facing financial constraints.
“There’s all kinds of issues that they face within the housing (sector),” Hansen said. “But when we can provide housing and look after them with supports, that benefits them and the community.”
Rogers extends gratitude to the City of Medicine Hat as well, as the 20 units will be included in a larger MHCHS affordable housing complex planned for land donated by the city.
The donation was approved by council in December, green-lighting MHCHS to move forward with initial development plans for the four-building, 80-unit complex.
“What we (envision) is four distinct buildings on the property, and then the ability to be flexible within those buildings,” said Rogers, highlighting that the units for Indigenous and Metis community members will include cultural features and traditional spaces in their design.
Construction of the complex is expected to be completed in two-phases, with three buildings – including the 20 units for Indigenous and Metis community members – first, and the final building at a later date.
MHCHS hopes to break ground this summer. Funding provisions require construction of the first phase be complete within 18 months of start date.
While construction of the 20 units for Indigenous and Metis community members will be covered by government funding, construction cost for the remaining units will be covered by MHCHS capital funds and other grant opportunities.
Speaking on behalf of the city, Mayor Linnsie Clark said she is glad to see the project moving forward with the additional funding.
“This injection of dollars is going to go some way to helping those who are are in need of affordable housing in our community,” said Clark.
Medicine Hat News – February 24, 2023