Canada's Economic Action Plan helps to improve housing on reserve in Alberta

PIIKANI NATION, AB, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada announced today an investment of $3.7 million, as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP), to improve housing conditions for the Piikani Nation community.

Ted Menzies, MP for Macleod and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, made the announcement along with members of the Piikani Nation community.

"Our Government recognizes that social housing on-reserve is getting older and a significant number of projects are in need of repairs and upgrading," said MP Menzies. "Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, we are helping alleviate some of the pressing needs of members who live in the Piikani Nation community and we are also stimulating the local economy by creating jobs."

Through CEAP, the Government of Canada has committed $400 million over the next 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 and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). 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 CEAP were very successful and generated a large number of applications. As a result, both CMHC and INAC will be able to allocate the full $200 million available this year.

Of the funding announced today, CMHC will allocate more than $853,000 to retrofit 41 social housing units and INAC will allocate $2.9 million over a two-year period towards various housing initiatives, such as renovations and conversion to market based housing, for the Piikani Nation.

Additionally, other federal funding sources are being leveraged to assist the Piikani Nation in skills development for the overall maintenance of its housing program.

Through the CEAP, some $50 million in federal investments will be made available to First Nations in Alberta to address immediate housing needs and assist the transition to market-based housing.

"The Government is actively working with First Nations towards increasing the supply of safe and affordable housing," said the Honorable Chuck Strahl. "Not only will these investments in housing directly affect the recipients, they will also serve as an economic stimulus for many First Nations and rural areas by generating employment, developing skilled trades and fostering small businesses."

"CEAP has been instrumental in assisting the Piikani Nation establish long-term and sustainable working relationships with professional contractors and suppliers, train and employ up to 35 Piikani Nation members, kick-start our market housing strategy and most importantly improve our living conditions," said Piikani Nation Chief Reg Crowshoe.

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.

These commitments are in addition to the federal government's annual investment of approximately $270 million for on-reserve housing needs, through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). INAC also provides $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 provides $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 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.

The federal government, through CMHC and INAC, is working with First Nations to move forward with this important initiative.

SOURCE CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION (CMHC), PRAIRIES REGION

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; Charles Sauriol, CMHC Media Relations, (613) 748-2799, csauriol@cmhc-schl.gc.ca; Glenn Luff, Director, Communications/Executive Services, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Alberta Region, (780) 495-6638, glenn.luff@inac-ainc.gc.ca; Kimberlee Jones, Senior Communications Consultant, Prairie & Territories-Communications & Marketing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), (403) 515-3048, kjones@cmhc-schl.gc.ca; Natoshia Bastien, Piikani Housing Manager, (403) 965-2961, nbastien@piikanihousing.ca

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CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION (CMHC), PRAIRIES REGION

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