Curve Lake First Nation and Habitat for Humanity Celebrate Maawandoonan - Coming Together in Partnership

CURVE LAKE, ON, July 31, 2017 /CNW/ - A crowd of more than 180 attendees came together at the Curve Lake Community Centre to learn about details of a new partnership that will bring affordable homeownership to Curve Lake First Nation. Attendees included the Honourable Maryam Monsef (Minister of Status of Women and MP for Peterborough-Kawartha) and Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development) as well as Habitat for Humanity representatives and Curve Lake Council and band members.

Also in attendance was Peter Phillips, Royal Patron and Youth Build Ambassador to Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region. Peter Phillips is the eldest grandson of the Queen of England, son of Princess Anne. Peter's wife Autumn is Canadian and has strong family ties to the local area.

Maawandoonan – Coming Together in Partnership celebrates the unified efforts of Curve Lake First Nation and Habitat for Humanity to provide low-income Indigenous families with the help needed to own a safe, decent and affordable home. In partnership, two single-detached Habitat homes will be built on two lots provided by Curve Lake First Nation. Construction is slated to begin this fall and Habitat Peterborough & Kawartha Region is now accepting applications from low-income families in the community who are interested in owning their own home.

From September to April, hundreds of volunteers will come to Curve Lake to work alongside band members to not only build two homes, but to learn new skills, make new friendships, learn more about the history and culture of Curve Lake, and bring action to reconciliation! Many of the teams are expected to be youth. Habitat Peterborough & Kawartha Region's local youth program is one of the strongest in the country and the expectation is that more than 100 local youth will take part in the building of these two homes.

Although this is the first Indigenous housing partnership for Habitat Peterborough & Kawartha Region, through Habitat Canada's Indigenous Housing Program, local Habitats across the country have partnered with more than 160 Indigenous families to provide them with affordable homeownership opportunities. The Indigenous Housing Program is based on research that shows that adequate housing plays an essential role in the well-being of a community. The success of this program is rooted in Habitat's approach – working in partnership with Indigenous communities to help find culturally appropriate solutions to improve housing conditions for all.

"We are so looking forward to not only building these two new homes and making the dream of homeownership a reality for two more families, but also to learn about the rich culture and history of Curve Lake First Nation, building friendships and alliances that will hopefully be an inspiration to all Canadians and Indigenous communities of the power of Maawandoonan. The power of bringing people together," says Sarah Burke, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region.

Curve Lake, an Anishinaabe community located approximately 25 kms northeast of Peterborough, is tackling the First Nation housing crisis head on by initiating innovative approaches to home ownership. First Nations people in Canada are four times more likely than non-Indigenous people to live in dwellings that require major repairs, such as defective plumbing or wiring and structural issues.

On top of these challenges, drinking water continues to be a concern. In a community where boil water advisories are issued every week, the lack of a water treatment facility to serve the entire community continues to be a challenge. 

Such challenges have not prevented the community from moving forward with their approach. Through housing programs such as a revolving loan fund and a housing as a business approach, Curve Lake First Nation is addressing community needs while ensuring sustainability for future generations. Both Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region and Curve Lake First Nation are hopeful that this partnership will see the building of many more homes together over the next few years, allowing more low-income Indigenous families to access affordable homeownership.

"We very much appreciate this new relationship with Habitat for Humanity. These builds will assist our pressures to address the housing needs we have in our community, and will give two families an opportunity of hope and dream of a lifetime," says Chief Phyllis Williams.

About Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that brings communities together to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership. Habitat gives a "hand up not a hand out" to low-income families by offering 0% interest mortgages, with no down payment and geared to income monthly payments. Find out more at www.habitatpkr.ca.

Habitat Canada's Indigenous Housing Program

Recognizing that there are unique housing challenges faced by Indigenous peoples both on and off reserve, the goal of Habitat Canada's Indigenous Housing Program is to partner with Indigenous communities to provide housing solutions for low-income families. Through this program, we have helped 166 Indigenous families build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership, including 38 on First Nations and Métis settlements and reserves. We have also provided over 150 Indigenous youth with training and skills opportunities that they can use to help build or renovate more homes in their communities, or secure employment opportunities. Find out more about this program online at www.habitat.ca/IHP.

SOURCE Habitat for Humanity Canada

For further information: Sarah Burke, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region, 705.750.1456 ext 222, sarah@habitatpkr.ca, www.habitatpkr.ca; Robin Steed, Executive Assistant to Chief and Council, Curve Lake First Nation, 705.657.8045 ext 207, robins@curvelake.ca, www.curvelakefirstnation.ca


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