Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative celebrates its first two projects moving toward construction
From: Indigenous Services Canada
November 23, 2020 — Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, and Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, congratulated all those involved in the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative on the first two projects approved to advance to construction.
The two projects will provide residence-based social services to vulnerable populations in the First Nations communities of Muskowekwan in Saskatchewan and Pikangikum in Ontario:
- Muskowekwan First Nation is building a Family Healing and Wellness Centre that will allow First Nations families to stay together, promoting a culturally responsive approach to healing intergenerational trauma. The Centre will have four family log homes with two to four bedrooms, as well as a fifth home for healing program delivery. The First Nation will operate the Centre with support from Elders, multidisciplinary counsellors and professional staff. The Centre will provide a welcoming, home-like environment where families in crisis referred to the Centre can get the support they need to help heal together.
- Pikangikum First Nation is building an eight residential unit ‘Community Safe Village’ that will provide safe, transitional, emergency housing with professional and culturally sensitive support for community members escaping violence. The facility will also have six hotel units accessible from a separate entrance for those visiting the community and to generate revenue to support the operation and maintenance of the Community Safe Village.
The Innovation Initiative’s Indigenous Steering Committee, composed of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation experts in infrastructure and housing, chose 24 projects out of 342 submissions to participate in the first phase of the Initiative. In this phase, called the ‘Accelerator,’ project teams received funding and support to develop their ideas. The Muskowekwan and Pikangikum projects are the first two that the Steering Committee has approved to advance to the next phase, construction. The other 22 projects continue to advance their projects in the ‘Accelerator.’
The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative aims to support the voices and ideas of Indigenous Peoples directly and complement the Government of Canada’s commitment to close current socio-economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. Supporting Indigenous-led innovative approaches and new ideas will help spark changes that can lead to better housing and social and economic conditions. The Initiative is part of the Privy Council Office’s Impact Canada family of challenges and initiatives that engage Canadians on developing innovative solutions for their communities.
“Congratulations to Muskowekwan and Pikangikum First Nations on their outstanding projects dedicated to providing crucial support to vulnerable people in their communities. Many thanks to the Initiative’s Indigenous Steering Committee, Impact Canada, and partners such as the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers for bringing these unique and valuable projects to fruition. I look forward to following the progress of the Family Healing and Wellness Centre in Muskowekwan and the Community Safe Village in Pikangikum and hope to hear more of the remaining 22 Innovation Initiative projects currently working in the Accelerator.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
“I congratulate the first two projects of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative for moving forward into the construction phase. The projects of the Muskowekwan and Pikangikum First Nations will help community members find cultural support and healing. I join Minister Miller in thanking the Indigenous Steering Committee members, Impact Canada, and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers for supporting these essential projects of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative and look forward to learning more on the progress of the remaining 22 Innovation Initiative projects.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada
“We were pleased to approve the first two projects to move into the construction phase. We are honoured to be involved in the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative, which allows us to be part of many projects that will make a difference in Indigenous communities.
“It was exciting to see how the Muskowekwan First Nation and Pikangikum First Nation projects have advanced and will provide safe and peaceful space for support and healing for the vulnerable members of their communities. We look forward to seeing the exciting work that will come from the 22 innovators remaining in the Accelerator process.”
Pamela Glode-Desrochers and Will Goodon
Co-chairs, Indigenous Steering Committee
Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative
“It is very exciting that two Indigenous housing projects—the Family Healing and Wellness Centre in Muskowekwan First Nation and Community Safe Village in Pikangikum First Nation—are now proceeding to the next phase of project development. Soon, construction of these two projects will begin, bringing critically important housing to their respective Indigenous communities. These projects are two of the 24 Indigenous housing projects supported through the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative, which provides support for the development, design and financing for unique Indigenous housing projects in communities throughout Canada.
“Cando recognizes the urgent need for safe and healthy housing for Indigenous people as well as the critical role new housing development can have on community economic development.”
Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando)
“The Pikangikum Community Safe Village (Safe House) will be a place of healing and empowerment, a sanctuary for the vulnerable to lessen the effects of generational trauma. The Safe House will change the lives of the people who for too long have been seeking traditional healing and have unfortunately succumbed to the hopelessness and despair that leads to suicides. We thank Chief Dean Owen and his Council for the support they have given us to build this facility…it takes a village.”
Vernon Kejick and Kim Sigurdson
Innovators and Project Coordinators for the Pikangikum Community Safe Village
“We are excited to be one step closer to building the facilities we require to allow our First Nation families to begin their healing journey from the historical effects of attending Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, among other traumas. We look forward to seeing construction start on the Muskowekwan Family Healing and Wellness Centre as it is so urgently needed in our First Nation communities. Our communities are in crisis and our people only have two options to go to right now: jail or the grave. The design of the Centre and the associated model of care have been driven by the community, for the community. We are now close to seeing tangible results from the many years of effort our community and leadership has put into advancing this vision.”
Chief Reginald Bellerose
Muskowekwan First Nation
- The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative is a partnership between Indigenous Services Canada, Infrastructure Canada, and the Privy Council Office’s Impact and Innovation Unit.
- In April 2019, the Government of Canada launched the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative to support innovative Indigenous-led housing ideas.
- The Initiative is led, from start to finish, by an Indigenous Steering Committee. The Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando) is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Initiative, with advice and support from ISC.
- Two projects from Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan and Pikangikum First Nation in Ontario were approved by the Initiative’s Indigenous Steering Committee to move forward into the construction phase.
- The Pikangikum project will receive $1.25 million and the Muskowekwan project will receive $2 million. Pikangikum is starting site preparation and foundation work and will use winter roads to transport the prefabricated building to the community. Muskowekwan will have log home packages prepared during the winter to be transported to the site for assembly in spring/summer 2021.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada