For the first time in 30 years, new housing is coming to the Shuswap community. The construction of two new duplexes is nearing completion at the Old Village Site and will feature both two and three bedroom units. The new units are part of a long-term strategy to create affordable housing for band members with low-to-moderate incomes and will mean big things for 13 potential tenants.
“Homes have not been built in our community for 30 years,” said Dolores Nicholas, Social Development/Housing Manager for Shuswap Indian Band. “This is very exciting for the community, especially since it allows for family members to finally come home.”
According to Nicholas, it’s difficult for band members to find affordable housing in the surrounding area due to high rent and shortage of availability. When band members move back to the community, often they are living in overcrowded situations with other family members.
“When there is a lack of housing available, members of our community do not have choice,” said Nicholas. “Anyone under 30 has never seen a new house built here. We’re hoping that the new duplexes will allow people to have more pride in their community and give them a comfortable place to live.”
The Shuswap Band and Council are also exploring several other housing options for the future such as tiny homes and more multi-units. According to Nicholas, there is room for more new development near the duplexes. The main challenge is developing infrastructure, not the availability of land, so the investigation into future housing opportunities is ongoing.
Construction is expected to be completed soon. The Shuswap Housing Committee is currently in the selection process for tenants and planning for families to occupy the new units by May 2018.
The Trust has committed $100,000 to this project through its First Nations Housing Sustainability Initiative. This three-year initiative has $4.5 million to support First Nations communities in the Basin to enhance and increase their local affordable housing. For more information about the initiative, visit ourtrust.org/fnhousing.