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Squamish Nation members to get 95 new affordable homes

SQUAMISH NATION, BC, Aug. 4, 2023 /CNW/ - Individuals, families, and Elders belonging to the Squamish Nation will soon be able to access more affordable housing options, as construction is underway on 95 new homes.

Today, the Honourable John Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing for the Province of British Columbia, Susie Chant, Member of the Legislative Assembly for North Vancouver-Seymour, Wilson Williams, Spokesperson and General Councillor for Squamish Nation, alongside Donalene Rapada, Chief Executive Officer of Hiy?ám? ta S?wx? wú7mesh Housing Society (Hiyam Housing) announced a combined investment of nearly $20 million to support 95 new affordable housing units for members of Squamish Nation. Construction of Chenkw Em?út is underway and expected to be complete in summer 2024.

Called Chenkw Em?út, which means "I am home," the project is located at 300 Khatsilano Road on Capilano Indian Reserve No. 5, in West Vancouver. It is based on a multi-generational housing approach and is a unique opportunity to reimagine the traditional Squamish longhouse living practice of shared accommodation. The four-storey building includes homes for independent Elders, families, and youth, including14 studio units, 50 one-bedroom units, 20 two-bedroom units, 10 three-bedroom units, and one five-bedroom unit. Each unit will have access to a private outdoor space, supporting a constant connection to the outdoors. The building will be managed by Hiyam Housing, a non-profit that develops and manages affordable housing for members of the Squamish Nation.

The design is grounded in Squamish culture and traditional practices to create affordable housing that is culturally reflective of members. Elements of cedar will be incorporated within the building, as well as graphic Coast Salish elements on the balconies, and an exterior feature wall that arose from community dialogue and workshops.

A co-op grocery store is part of the project, where residents and the community will have the opportunity to sell and purchase traditional and artisanal goods. The site will also feature two green spaces for use in ceremony, storytelling, relaxation and meal sharing.

Funding for this project includes:


"Local communities know their needs better than anyone else. Partnering with those on the ground helps to provide the most relevant housing options and helps to ensure the most successful outcomes. Thanks in particular to this partnership with the Squamish Nation, we will be creating 95 new homes for members to not only have a safe and affordable place to call home, but also to comfortably practice their culture and traditions. This is an all hands on deck approach that shows the federal government's leadership with the National Housing Strategy is working." ? The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

"Members of Squamish Nation will soon have access to more safe and affordable housing that will also provide residents with culturally appropriate options to honour their traditions. The Chenkw Em?út project will enable many more members of Squamish Nation to remain close to their families and friends, contributing to more fulfilling lives and adding to the well-being of their community. These kinds of projects can transform communities for generations to come." ? The Honourable John Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources 

"Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. Affordable housing is the foundation of health, well-being, and vibrant communities. Today's investment will provide Squamish Nation with high-quality affordable housing which honours the nation's culture and traditions. Thanks to the leadership of our Squamish Nation partners, families will be able to count on 95 new homes." ? The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services

"We are so grateful to our community partners, including the Hiy?ám? Housing Society, for working with us to provide the homes community members need. Delivering more affordable housing through partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations is an important part of our housing plan. These 95 new homes will play a key role in helping many Elders, youth, and families of the Squamish Nation build good lives in and with their community." ? Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing for the Province of British Columbia

" This project is a great example of all levels of government working with the non-profit housing sector to build the kind of safe, affordable housing that elders, youth, and families in the Squamish Nation need. More Squamish Nation members will soon have the peace of mind that comes with having a reasonably priced, secure home." ? Susie Chant, Member of the Legislative Assembly for North Vancouver-Seymour

"This housing project was among the first on-reserve projects ever funded by a provincial government in Canada. Our government is proud to be stepping up into this space and working with Indigenous communities on building housing in their communities. We look forward to continue to promote housing rooted in the traditions of the Squamish Nation, at rates that youth, families, and elders in the community can afford." ? Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale

"These affordable units are in very high demand from our members. Everyone is excited about this housing development. The concept of this building is to go back to our long ago traditions of longhouse living. We want to create a community that fosters intergenerational living where youth can learn from elders through story telling." ? Donalene Rapada, CEO, Hiy?ám? ta S?wx? wú7mesh Housing Society

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SOURCE Government of Canada

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