Tl’esqox First Nation west of Williams Lake has been approved for an $8 million CMHC rapid housing initiative grant for 20 new residential units in the community.
“This is a huge step for our community and I’m very happy,” said Joey Isnardy, the community’s housing manager and a band councillor. “We have a problem with overcrowding and have not had any new homes here in more than 20 years.”
Of the 20 new residential units, 10 will be for families, five for elders or people needing an accessible home, and five will be for single people.
The modular homes will be sourced from Eagle Homes Salmon Arm, installed on cement foundations and hooked up to water, sewer and electricity.
“I’m glad we are doing cement foundations because if you just put up blocks in our community and put the siding on it, with the weather out there being colder, it just freezes the water pipes and everything,” Isnardy said.
“We have about 32 serviced lots,” Isnardy said. “We recently filled up two of the lots with a six-plex we are building right now.”
Under the rapid housing initiative, the homes will all have to be in place and occupied by 2022 so all those band members wishing to be considered for placement to rent one of the new homes will have the opportunity to apply early 2022.
“We are going to move fast. We are just talking with contractors right now,” he said, noting the hope is to have the cement foundations in place in five or six months.
The amount of rent for the new units has not been finalized, however, Isnardy said it will be ‘affordable living.’
Some of the homes at Tl’esqox are older and have mold in them, so rather than try to renovate them, new ones are being constructed.
“It is difficult for our community members to rent in the Williams Lake area or down south,” Isnardy said. “We have about 380 community members altogether and I have already had lots of people contacting me about the new homes.”
Isnardy has been working with housing in the community for six years and been in leadership for almost three years.
In an issued statement, chief and council thanked all those involved with the initiative and said they look forward to the differences it will make in the community.