Canada supports Rapid Housing projects for First Nations in Yukon

Government of Canada, Government of Yukon and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations announce affordable housing projects under Rapid Housing Initiative

Joint news release with the Government of Canada.

Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to Canada’s recovery for communities across the country, including those in the Yukon.

Today, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Ahmed Hussen, alongside Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai, Member of Parliament for Yukon, Larry Bagnell and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Kaaxnox, Dän Nätthe Äda (Chief Steve Smith) announced details of an approximately $12.86 million investment through the Projects Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) for the immediate construction of 50 units of affordable housing in communities across the Yukon.

This funding will support four different projects across the Territory.

Three million dollars will be invested with the Yukon Housing Corporation (YHC) to construct three triplexes in Mayo, Watson Lake and Whitehorse. These projects will contribute nine units towards supporting affordable community housing options for Yukoners. These will be a combination of one and two-bedroom homes, eight units will be barrier free and two units will be designated specifically for women and children. Yukon Housing Corporation will support this project with an additional investment of $2.6 million.   

In Whitehorse, $6.07 million go toward creating 20 new homes for Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) individuals and families in need of housing. The project will be located at 195 Olive May Way in Whistle Bend, and includes five separate town homes, each made up of four separate units including one, two and three-bedroom homes and accessible units. CAFN is investing $1.4 million in the project.

In partnership with Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC), the fund will also see $1.33 million invested to create 11 new homes across Whitehorse, helping the First Nation continue to support its members who are at risk of homelessness. TKC is investing $1.7 million in the project, creating opportunity for TKC businesses, new trades apprenticeships and other capacity building initiatives for the community.

In Carcross, $2.47 million will be provided to create 10 new single family homes in partnership with Carcross/Tagish First Nation. These homes will target Elders and families, and consist of seven homes with two-bedroom units and three homes with three-bedroom units. For Elders, this is an opportunity to replace vacant housing stock in Carcross, and allow them to stay within their respective First Nation. For Carcross/Tagish First Nation families, the project will provide parents with a long-term stable environment in which they can raise their children, and live within close proximity to their First Nation. Carcross/Tagish First Nation is contributing $923,000 to this initiative. 

Delivered by CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential homes. Investments made under the RHI are expected to support thousands of construction-related jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Our Government is taking steps, right now, to ensure that everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home. Investments with our First Nations communities in Yukon under the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most by quickly providing 50 new affordable housing units. This is one of the ways our Government’s National Housing Strategy addresses the unique barriers faced by vulnerable communities such as First Nations across Canada. This is the National Housing Strategy at work. 

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for CMHC Ahmed Hussen

CAFN is happy to have the opportunity to build and offer homes in Whitehorse for the very first time, because we believe having a place to call home is a foundation for a good life. It is dän k’e – our way, to help those who need it most, so focusing on our people who face homelessness and severe housing need is important to us as dän shawthän (good Southern Tutchone people). 

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations,Dän nätthe äda Kaaxnox(Chief Steve Smith)

The Government of Canada has made strategic investments to diversify housing options in the Yukon and continues to make valuable contributions to the lives of Yukoners. We know safe, adequate housing that meets the needs of families and individuals is a key component of healthy communities. These projects under the Rapid Housing Initiative are a great example of working in partnership to help meet housing needs in our territory while also supporting the Yukon’s construction economy.  

Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai

The National Housing Strategy is working to ensure more affordable housing for Indigenous peoples. At such a critical time, these developments will provide community members with safe, stable housing and direct access to supports and other resources to assist them in their journey to find safe and secure housing. The Rapid Housing Initiative shows us we have a massive opportunity in front of us to deliver housing, at a rapid pace, and it helps us to ensure we address the needs of vulnerable people and those experiencing homelessness in Yukon. 

Member of Parliament for Yukon Larry Bagnell

I see this initiative as a key step in Ta’an Kwäch’än Council’s efforts to address many different housing needs and interests of our Citizens. We thank Canada for supporting us during these particularly difficult times. 

Chief Kristina Kane, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council

Carcross/Tagish First Nation was overjoyed to receive funding through CMHC Rapid Housing Initiative to build 10 houses in Carcross and Tagish. Our partnership with Walker Home Construction, a Yukon First Nation “Pre-Fab Housing” company, has been an incredibly positive and successful endeavour. As of today we have two homes ready for occupancy on July 1, and a further two on August 1. The remaining six homes are well under way and should be completed by the end of September. 

Miles D. Dean, Director of Infrastructure, Carcross/Tagish First Nation

Quick facts 
  • The Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) is a $1 billion program to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.

  • Budget 2021 provides an additional $1.5 billion for the RHI in 2021–22 to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by providing them with adequate affordable housing, bringing the RHI to $2.5 billion total.

  • Under the RHI Projects Stream, $500 million was available through an application-based process, which closed on December 31, 2020. Funding was available to provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations.

  • The RHI Major Cities Stream provided $500 million in immediate support to 15 pre-determined municipalities that were identified in consultation with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), based on highest levels of renters in severe housing need and people experiencing homelessness.  

  • Nationally, at over 4,700 units, the RHI has exceeded its initial target of building 3,000 permanent affordable housing units thanks to the support of the provincial, territorial and municipal governments as well as Indigenous governing bodies.

  • Overall, new funding in Budget 2021 for the RHI will add a minimum of 4,500 new affordable units to Canada’s housing supply, building on the 4,700 units already funded.

  • The RHI has received significant interest from Indigenous groups, which resulted in nearly 40 per cent of all units created under the program to be targeted to Indigenous peoples. 

  • The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and others who are among the most vulnerable, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2S+, racialized groups, Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees. 

  • Canada's National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, over $72 billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.

Media contact 

Mikaela Harrison
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Leonard Catling
Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
Government of Yukon

Aneesha Singh
Communications, Yukon Housing Corporation

Amy McKinnon
Strategic Communications Manager
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
CELL: 867 332 1973

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