Habitat for Humanity building up in Yukon

In what is a first for the territory, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations signed a deal with Habitat for Humanity Yukon to work together to build housing for low-income citizens.

In what is a first for the territory, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations signed a deal with Habitat for Humanity Yukon to work together to build housing for low-income citizens.

“We’re using a number of initiatives to make our people more self-reliant and independent and this is one of the vehicles that we’re using to help them do that,” said Chief James Allen at the signing in Whitehorse on Thursday.

The first building will be a triplex at the First Nations’ Takhini River subdivision, west of Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway.

But the hope is to build more homes as the First Nations free up more settlement land and the organization gets more resources to keep building, said Arthur Mitchell, president of Habitat for Humanity Yukon.

This national Habitat organization signed an agreement with the national Assembly of First Nations in December 2011 to help bring affordable home ownership and adequate housing to aboriginal communities across Canada.

Unlike many other First Nations across Canada, however, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations are self-governing. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity to establish a program that helps build homes and finance mortgages for low-income people, said Allen.

“The demand for housing by people who do not make a lot of money in our communities is great,” he said. “Our unemployment rate is very high and there are not a lot of job opportunities in the communities. It would take a lot of effort, a lot of capacity for the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations to develop a program like this and to fund it. So we’re glad to have a partner that’s established … and use the capacity that they have, the funding and the experience that they have to help our people own their own homes.

“Hopefully this will create a market for home ownership on our settlement lands.

“Home ownership is a big part of self-reliance and people want to own their homes. They want to call something theirs. This will build pride in the community for the families that own these, but it will also build a support system: the community feeling of people working together again.”

It will take volunteers from the whole community to build these homes, said Allen.

In return, citizens of the Haines Junction-based First Nations will have the chance to start developing skills like carpentry and other trades.

“It’s certainly a first step,” Mitchell said, noting that accredited journeymen and supervisors will be on the construction site. “When the volunteers become engaged then they may decide to pursue that path but obviously there’s training opportunities and it’s just a win-win.”

Habitat for Humanity is expanding its work in the territory in addition to this Champagne and Aishihik project.

The Yukon government announced on Wednesday that for each of the five phases of Whistle Bend, land will be reserved for the non-profit.

And while ambitious, Habitat for Humanity is confident it will be able to keep up with its schedule thanks to a 2009 agreement with the Yukon Housing Corporation.

Essentially, the corporation can finance mortgages for eligible, low-income clients, while paying the entire mortgage to Habitat for Humanity up front so that it has the money to keep building.

A similar scheme, called the First Nations Housing Initiative, is another “vehicle” Allen’s citizens are accessing to help develop more home ownership on their lands.

The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations will be using Habitat for Humanity’s criteria for selecting the families moving into the triplex once it is built.

Since 2005, Habitat for Humanity has helped nine Yukon families become homeowners.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read