142 Affordable Rental Homes Confirmed for an Urban Aboriginal Community
Prince George, BC: Plans to build an Urban Aboriginal Community on a 6.8 acre parcel of land in Prince George are moving forward. The Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George is leading the development, with support from BC Housing, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Ministry of Child and Family Development.
The development has been planned comprehensively through a site master plan and extensive community engagement. The overarching concept is to create an Urban Aboriginal Community that includes safe and affordable housing with on-site access to childcare and opportunities for knowledge-sharing and education, cultural practice, and health and wellness services. When complete, the site will include up to 200 affordable rental homes. Currently funding is confirmed for 142 homes in the form of apartments and townhouses. This development is the only of its kind across Canada.
The site is being constructed through the following 4 phases:
- Phase 1: 50 affordable rental townhomes for families
- Phase 2A: 57 unit, 4-storey apartment building with affordable rental housing for families and singles
- Phase 2B: Childcare facility (40 spaces)
- Phase 2C-F: Outdoor gathering space including spaces for cultural practice and a community centre that includes space for gathering, learning, and socializing.
- Phase 3: 35 unit, 3-storey apartment with supportive housing for seniors and Elders at risk of homelessness.
- Phase 4: Future Development
The residential developments are being supported by Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George land contributions and BC Housing funding, including the Indigenous Housing Fund (Phase 1), Community Housing Fund (Phase 2A), and Supportive Housing Fund (Phase 3). The childcare development is a cost-sharing partnership between the Ministry of Child and Family Development and the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George.
Phase 1 construction will be complete in Fall 2021 and construction is starting on the childcare and the 35-unit supportive housing for seniors and Elders. Construction of the 57-unit apartment building is planned for Spring 2022.
According to the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George’s Executive Director Kim Hamilton, “This development will provide support to urban Indigenous peoples in Prince George by offering up to 200 units of safe and affordable housing with on-site access to educational, childcare, health and wellness, recreational, and cultural opportunities.”
A key component of the community will be an outdoor space for community gatherings. The design of the gathering space will be confirmed through further engagement with residents, but is envisioned to include space for gatherings, cultural events, cook-outs, celebrations, and cultural practice.
The construction process incorporates the Aboriginal Training and Career Development (ATCD) Program. The ATCD Program supports and employs Indigenous people on the Urban Aboriginal Community development at 1919 17th Avenue. The Program supports Indigenous people to explore careers in areas where Indigenous people have historically been under-represented. All ATCD candidates receive job coaching support from a qualified Career Coach to assess qualifications, skill development requirements, and personalized job matching with positions available on the 1919 17th Avenue development. The ATCD program is a partnership between the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George, IDL Projects Inc., the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment & Training Association, CNC, and WorkBC. To date, ATCD participants have worked more than 8,700 hours on the site, with 11 Indigenous men and 3 Indigenous women participating.
- Prince George has a disproportionately high number of Indigenous People Experiencing Homelessness: A 2018 point-in-time homeless count found that 79% of individuals experiencing homeless in Prince George identify as Indigenous.
- The Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George has operated and provided services in Prince George for 36 years, and currently operates over 200 rental units across northern British Columbia.
- In Prince George, there is a strong need for affordable rental housing for lone-parents with children: 64% of single-female renters with children and 47% of single-male renters with children are spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities, putting them in core housing need (Canadian Rental Housing Index).
- In Prince George, there is a strong need for affordable housing for seniors who are renting. Nearly half of Prince George seniors who are renting (49%) are spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities (Stats Canada 2016).
- Non-Aboriginal renters in Prince George earn a median renter household income of $43,026 compared to $38,606 for Aboriginal renters (Canadian Rental Housing Index).
More information about the development is available at http://ahspg.ca/new-developments/1919-17th-ave/
Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George
Kim Hamilton, Executive Director