Fredericton, July 24, 2019 — The long and courageous journey of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) is a story to be told and shared. With determination and resilience BNA has overcome many challenges and is now embracing market housing to strengthen their community. On June 21, 2019, National Indigenous People’s Day, BNA came together with partner organizations from industry, government and business to celebrate the “homecoming of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek” and the first home building since the community was so heartlessly destroyed over 60 years ago. The First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund) was there to celebrate with the community.
Pictured left to right: John Beaucage, Fund Chairperson; Katie Borysewicz, BNA Councillor; Joe Ladouceur, BNA Chief; Lillian Calder, BNA Councillor; Deborah Taylor, Fund Executive Director
Chief Joe Ladouceur explained, “we have survived significant adversity at the hands of outside forces beyond our control, yet rather than wither away, we have arisen once again to reclaim what is rightfully ours. It is crucial to provide a financial base for our community and to ensure we have the resources required to continue to develop our land and to move forward in a thoughtful and progressive, yet also in an aggressive manner. We value the continuing support of the First Nations Market Housing Fund in our journey.”
BNA intends to start building in the Fall of 2019 under the Fund’s Credit Enhancement Program and within 5 years to build a total of 10 housing units, including 8 homeownership and 2 rental units, while continuing to support seasonal residents.
John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund, congratulated the present and past leaders, and the community, recognizing their inspiring years of hard work and unceasing determination that led to this wondrous occasion. He noted “how proud and honoured he has been to work with BNA from the beginning because they had a vision.” “BNA was the 29th First Nation who chose to work with the Fund; the Fund is now serving 254 First Nations across the country” he said.
The First Nations Market Housing Fund
The Fund is a registered not-for-profit trust established by the Government of Canada, which was born out of what has become known as the Kelowna Accord. First Nations communities continue to lag behind the rest of Canada in health and most social and economic determinants — including housing. The Fund is an important part of the mix of solutions necessary to provide homes, strengthen communities and empower First Nations like BNA across Canada.
The Fund helps First Nations families overcome the barriers to home ownership and close the housing gap. The federal government’s one-time investment of $300 million in the Fund has the potential to leverage $3 billion of investments in homes on reserve and on settlement lands and lands set aside for First Nations across Canada.
The latest figures from Statistics Canada, in 2016, show that 31 percent of on-reserve units were privately owned compared with approximately 69 percent of non-indigenous Canadians. According to the 2016 Census:
- one fifth (19.4%) of the total Aboriginal population in Canada reported living in a dwelling in need of major repairs compared to 6.0% of the non Aboriginal population;
- close to one fifth (18.3%) of the Aboriginal population lived in housing that was considered not suitable for the number of people who lived there, according to the National Occupancy Standard.
The Fund helps First Nations communities by:
- Providing a 10% backstop for housing loans guaranteed by the First Nation;
- Providing financial leverage to negotiate with lenders for the best possible loan terms and conditions;
- Strengthening First Nations communities and supporting increased self-sufficiency by providing financial literacy and financial management tools, enhancing the governance framework, and developing capacity with education, information, and innovative services.
The Fund works with financial institutions committed to providing a high level of service to First Nation governments:
The Fund’s growing list of both national and regional financial institutions across Canada which have chosen to finance loans backed by the Fund, includes BMO; CIBC; Peace Hills Trust; First Nations Bank of Canada; Vancouver City Savings, Affinity and Valley First Credit Unions; Envision Financial; Desjardins Group; Northern Savings Credit Union; Williams Lake and District Credit Union and six Caisse populaires in Ontario located in Hearst, Kapaskasing, Verner, Alban, Noëlville and Sturgeon Falls.
For more information, please visit the Fund’s website at www.fnmhf.ca.
First Nations Market Housing Fund
Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek
Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA), also known as Sandpoint First Nation, is located on pristine eastern shores of Lake Nipigon in Northwest Ontario, approximately 2 hours northeast of the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
In the 1950’s, BNA members were forcefully removed from their traditional homeland after the Province canceled a license of occupation to make way for a provincial park. Through the persistent efforts of successive leaders and Elders, the people of BNA have worked tirelessly to reclaim and rebuild their community. In 2010, an Order-In-Council was passed and presented to the community which formally created a total of 984.6 hectares of reserve lands for the BNA. In this same year, BNA applied and was approved to participate in the First Nations Market Housing Fund Capacity Development Program, with the recommendation that additional time be spent on the development and implementation of key areas of governance in order to be considered under the Fund’s Credit Enhancement Program.
The community undertook a number of community rebuilding efforts over this period of time, including the development of the BNA Land Code, Matrimonial Real Property Law, Capital Plan, Water Source Investigation Study, Survey Plans, Housing Strategy, and Housing Policy development to name a few.
It has long been the vision of the community’s leadership and membership to reconnect and rebuild on the land. In February 2019 BNA was approved to participate in the Credit Enhancement Facility of the First Nations Market Housing Program. This is a major achievement belonging to the First Nation membership, leadership and staff. BNA will now be able to offer eligible housing loans to its members backed by the Fund.