ARCHIVED - Kamloops Indian Band On-reserve Housing Program

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Kamloops Indian Band is developing a thriving housing market on its own doorstep.

The first step was to introduce a new, multi-year housing strategy. The band had a double problem: its waiting list for homes kept growing and the available housing stock kept deteriorating. To meet both challenges, the band council proposed an innovative housing strategy called the New On-Reserve Housing Approach.

"We're creating a self-replenishing housing fund to maintain reserve housing and to provide capital to build new houses," explains Jolene Rendolic, the program's co-ordinator. The program is funded by individual householders and the band, as well as by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The program has two main components: home ownership and home renovation.

In both cases, band members who apply and are approved can obtain close to $20,000 from the INAC B.C. Region's housing program for a new home. Similarly, renovators with mortgage-free homes can apply for $9,935 to cover improvement costs, such as adapting homes for seniors' needs. In addition, new home owners can obtain a one-time grant of $5,000 directly from the band. Further, both renovators and new home owners can apply to a bank for additional loans, for which the band will co-sign.

The program is proving to be a great success.

"So far under the program, band members have conducted 31 house renovations, and I've processed applications for 21 more," Ms. Rendolic says. And she notes that external funding plays a vital and much-needed role in this success. "The band uses INAC funds to the maximum."

Ms. Rendolic also notes that placing the purchase or upkeep of a home directly in the resident's hands has a wider effect. Band members who have been able to buy or renovate their houses through the program "are tremendously proud that they don't have to rely on the band to paint a wall, for example. And, probably as a result, people are taking better care of their houses."

As well, she notes that the community is acquiring a more diverse and interesting look: People are beginning to build different style homes from the usual, standardized three-bedroom bungalows seen on most reserves.

The program has also had several spin-off social and economic benefits for the community. Its operations have led directly to increased on-reserve training and related job creation and business development. These skills are being put to good use close to home. The band has arranged to lease a portion of its reserve land to a development company that has been building new shops, a resort hotel, playing fields, parks, a world-class golf course and up to 2,000 homes on the site.

What began as a good solution to a pressing problem has led to a flourishing on-reserve housing market and increased local economic development, both of which will benefit the reserve and the wider community in the Kamloops region.

Kamloops Indian Band

Kamloops Indian Band Population: 1, 049
Number of units: 261 built to date
Key partners:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
Royal Bank (for longterm loans)
All Nations Trust (on-reserve)
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Supporting policies: New On-Reserve Housing Approach (NORHA) program, INAC housing program, CMHC's Full Subsidy Program
Financing vehicles/arrangements: BMO Bank of Montreal On-Reserve Housing Loan Program, co-financed by individual band members, band and federal government (INAC, CMHC).
Home ownership training: NORHA program provides assistance with renovations, residential rehabilitation and home adaptations for seniors.

Contact: Jolene Rendolic,
NORHA Co-ordinator
(250) 828-9791,
jrendolic@kib.ca

 

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