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Home News Métis Nation—Saskatchewan announces $1.5 million in funding to build housing in Ile-a-la-Crosse

Métis Nation—Saskatchewan announces $1.5 million in funding to build housing in Ile-a-la-Crosse

Métis Nation—Saskatchewan announces $1.5 million in funding to build housing in Ile-a-la-Crosse
(Métis Nation-Saskatchewan/Facebook)

The Métis Nation—Saskatchewan (MN-S) will contribute $1.5 million to build six tiny homes and two three-bedroom homes in the Village of Ile-a-la-Crosse.

MN-S President Glen McCallum made the announcement Tuesday morning at the Building Community – Saskatchewan Housing and Homelessness Conference in Saskatoon. McCallum said northern communities are calling for action on homelessness, and the MN-S investment is a response to their concerns.

“We hear from citizens in all regions of the province, north, central, and south, who tell us about the inadequate living conditions and housing shortages in their communities,” McCallum said in a media release. “Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but so much more is needed.”

The MN-S will partner with the Sakitawak Development Corporation, the Village of Ile-a-la-Crosse, and Metis Local 21 to build the new housing units. Construction will begin this spring. All housing units will be constructed by 2024. The investment is part of the NRIII Regional Housing Strategy.

MN-S director of housing Jason Mercredi said their data shows homelessness is growing and housing availability is decreasing in Saskatchewan. They saw an increased need in the homelessness programming they fund in Ile-a-la-Crosse, which spurred their decision to make more housing investments. However, the choice to fund new units in Ile-a-la-Crosse came down to community initiative.

“We always try to listen to what communities need, and these are all northern responses,” Mercredi explained. “We didn’t come to them with a plan. They came to us with a plan, and so we tried to meet those community needs as best we can.”

The MN-S has already helped fund construction of tiny homes in Pinehouse and La Loche. Mercredi said many communities prefer those smaller homes because they help keep energy costs down and are cheaper to build.

“It allows you to stretch your capital dollars,” he explained. “You can build a number of tiny homes for the same price you could build a two-bedroom home, so it allows the dollars to go a little bit further, and it allows us to increase the amount of people that we can actually successfully house throughout the north.”

The MN-S has promised to use local work forces in building the new homes.

Mercredi said the MN-S would have more northern housing announcements in 2023. However, he emphasized that there’s only so much the organization and its partners can do without other levels of government helping. Ideally, he hopes to see more planning on a long-term homelessness solution, instead of making plans year-to-year.

“We’re going to have to work together with the province, First Nations governments, and the federal government and municipalities to address this issue, and likely stack some of our funding so that we can get a bigger bang for the buck,” he said. “That’s part of what we’re trying to do over the next two days with the first annual Saskatchewan housing and homelessness conference, just start to build those relationships up and create some dialogue.”