Canada's Economic Action Plan creates jobs and improves housing on reserve in
British Columbia

PENTICTON, BC, Jan. 25 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada announced today an investment of close to $1.8 million, as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, to improve housing conditions for the Penticton and Snuneymuxw First Nations communities.

The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), made the announcement in Penticton.

"Our Government's Economic Action Plan is delivering support for improvements in housing conditions for members who live in First Nation communities in British Columbia and we are also stimulating the local economy by creating jobs," said Minister Day.

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada has committed $400 million over two years to help First Nation communities build needed new housing, repair and remediate existing non-profit housing for their members, and complement housing programs offered by CMHC. This investment will also provide an economic stimulus for many First Nations and surrounding areas by creating jobs.

The application calls for the new funding initiatives under Canada's Economic Action Plan were very successful and generated a large number of applications. As a result, CMHC will be fully allocating all the available funding for this fiscal year.

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, some $50 million in federal investments will be made available to First Nations in British Columbia to address immediate housing needs.

CMHC will allocate more than $7 million to build 43 new housing units on-reserve in British Columbia. Of this funding, Penticton First Nation and Snuneymuxw First Nation will receive close to $1.8 million to build 12 new housing units.

"We are pleased to welcome this new housing construction that has come to us at a time when both the Penticton leadership and community members have identified our housing needs as a priority," said Jonathan Kruger, Chief of the Penticton First Nation. "This ensures the health and safety of our Elders, children and membership through sustainable homes and is of utmost importance to the Band."

"These new homes are a step toward addressing our longstanding housing needs and help us build our community's equity. We have been able to provide seven new homes as well as an opportunity for some of our community members to work in construction," said Snuneymuxw First Nation's Chief Douglas White III. "This project represents a major life change for seven families - they will have a home to call their own! It has been a huge opportunity for our Nation and our members welcome these important new homes."

More information on this and other measures in Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government's plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at: www.actionplan.gc.ca.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan.

Backgrounder attached.

INVESTMENT TO IMPROVE ON-RESERVE SOCIAL HOUSING

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting First Nations through targeted investments to build and renovate housing. Today's announcement is the latest in a series of commitments by the federal government to improve housing conditions in First Nations communities.

This commitment is in addition to the federal government's annual investment, through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), of approximately $277 million for on-reserve housing needs, and INAC's investment of approximately $118 million annually for First Nations on-reserve in the form of shelter allowance payments under the Income Assistance Program.

Under Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada has provided $400 million over the next two years to support on-reserve housing. Of the $400 million committed, $250 million will be delivered through CMHC over two years for the creation of new on-reserve housing ($125 million) and the repair and renovation of existing federally-assisted on-reserve social housing ($125 million). The remaining $150 million will be delivered by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) for lot servicing, renovations, new construction of high-density multi-unit dwellings, and renovations to support the conversion of band-owned housing to private ownership.

In 2007, the Government invested $300 million in the First Nations Market Housing Fund, which encourages market-based housing on-reserve and could create 25,000 new housing units over the next decade.

SOURCE CANADA MORTGAGE & HOUSING CORPORATION - VANCOUVER

For further information: For further information: Media please contact: Michelle Bakos, Office of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, (819) 994-2482; Tracy Wells, CMHC, British Columbia, (604) 737-4162; Charles Sauriol, CMHC, Media Relations, (613) 748-2799

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CANADA MORTGAGE & HOUSING CORPORATION - VANCOUVER

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