"Building Homes and Building Skills": Assembly of First Nations and The
Holmes Group Announce New Partnership on First Nations Housing and

WINNIPEG, July 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and "Canada's Most Trusted Contractor" Mike Holmes of "Holmes on Homes"(R) and The Holmes Group, signed a Statement of Partnership today at the AFN 31st Annual General Assembly. The agreement establishes a new pilot project that aims to assist in building homes, enhance community design and planning and utilize appropriate green technologies and clean energy sources to improve health and living conditions in First Nations communities, as well as establishing a First Nation Centre of Excellence on green and sustainable community design.

"We are very excited to partner with Mike Holmes and The Holmes Group on this new initiative that will help to build homes, develop new skills and capacity, protect the environment and engineer better communities for First Nations people," National Chief Atleo said. "Too many of our communities are struggling with rundown and substandard housing and community infrastructure. This creates a whole spectrum of related social problems, from poor health to poor performance in school and to poverty for too many of our people. Having the Holmes Group involved in this project is one step towards safer and healthier communities for our people and I commend Mike Holmes and his team for recognizing this and working with us."

The AFN and The Holmes Group plan to select a First Nation community as a pilot project where they will assist in the retro-fit of existing housing units, the construction of new houses, community buildings and incorporate innovative and industry-leading green technologies and clean energy sources, integrated with the natural environment as well as First Nations concepts of family, health and traditions. The pilot project will lead to the creation of a First Nation Community Planning Tool that can be used by all First Nations. First Nations citizens will be involved in this work so the initiative will build skills and capacity as well as infrastructure.

"The neglect and poor conditions for housing found in many First Nations communities must be addressed immediately," says Mike Holmes. "And for the future of our country we need to build real communities that not only serve the residents but also give back what they take from the land. Our development must take the example from the original stewards of this land whose culture is intimately connected to our natural environment and resources."

The two parties have committed to establishing a First Nation Centre of Excellence on green and sustainable community design that will be under the leadership of the AFN. The First Nation Centre of Excellence will provide guides to planning tools, models, best practices and design practices to any First Nation community in need.

The AFN and the Holmes Group will consider which First Nation community will be the site of the pilot project over the next month. An announcement will be made once the community is selected.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Alain Garon, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, Cell: 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca; Liza Drozdov, Director of Communications, The Holmes Group, Phone: 416-233-6066 (209) or lizadrozdov@makeitright.ca

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