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Habitat for Humanity recognizes Edmonton chapter for Aboriginal housing work
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton has been recognized by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for its contributions to Aboriginal housing.
The Edmonton chapter of the international organization received the CMHC Award for Outstanding Contribution to Habitat for Humanity Aboriginal Housing for its role in helping Aboriginal families in the Edmonton area achieve home ownership.
In making the presentation at the Habitat for Humanity Canada’s National Gala on May 11, Senator PamWallin recognized HFHE for its “ongoing efforts in creating opportunities for Aboriginal families through homeownership.”
The Habitat for Humanity Awards Committee considered a number of key areas in the selection of the winner for this award including innovative solutions to challenges faced in Aboriginal housing development; association and community collaboration on Aboriginal housing development; number of Aboriginal families served; and number of major renovations, including energy efficiencies, to Aboriginal housing.
An element of HFHE’s achievement has been based on a partnership with the Métis Capital Housing Corporation.
“The goal of this partnership is to provide Métis families with affordable, renovated and safe housing under a home ownership model,” said Alfred Nikolai, president and CEO of HFHE.
Currently, there is a wait list of 4,000 Métis families looking for housing, so a need to develop and create more housing opportunities is extremely important.
The partnership has provided support and an alternative to MCHC. Formerly, the houses were owned by MCHC and subsidized to low-income Métis families that were renting the property. However, with the costs of renovations, other homes had to be sold in order to renovate others, which depleted the Métis Housing stock.
The home ownership partnership between MCHC, CMHC and HFHE allows low income Métis families the opportunity to realize home ownership. HFHE has leased the land and taken control of the renovations and maintenance.
Under a home ownership model, the Aboriginal home-owner pays a mortgage that is seen as an investment, the money goes to Habitat to pay for further renovations on future houses.This provides an opportunity for Aboriginal families to realize their dreams of home ownership.
Habitat for Humanity has also partnered with the Elizabeth Métis Settlement to provide affordable home ownership for Métis families on the settlement.
“This is a great partnership and opportunity for Métis families to start building equity in their home for their families’ future,” said Nikolai.
Skyrider developments will build three of the four duplexes for the Métis settlement, who in turn will donate them to HFHE. The fourth duplex will be built by HFHE, and will hold eight Métis families that meet the eligibility criteria with mortgage payments re-invested in constructing more homes for Métis families.
“This is an important step in empowering and providing opportunities to our Métis families to own homes on the Elizabeth Métis Settlement,” said Chris Desjarlais, vice chair for the Elizabeth Métis Settlement.
This is a partnership that HFHE and CMHC would be interested in carrying on to other Aboriginal communities. The award is an honour for HFHE as it represents the hard work that went in to not only being an active partner with the Aboriginal community, but sets the stage for further partnerships and collaboration with Aboriginal communities.
Photo caption: Making it happen for Habitat for Humanity partner families: representatives from the City of Edmonton, Government of Alberta, Building Trades of Alberta, RBC Foundation Tachane Foundation, MÈtis Capital Housing Corporation and Habitat for Humanity Edmonton.
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