From new spray foam insulation that swells like pink snow in the attic, all the way down to foundation repairs in the basement, 17 affordable housing units in Creston Valley’s Lower Kootenay Band (Yaqan Nukiy) community are getting upgrades. The goal is to make these units healthier, safer and more affordable energy-wise for tenants.

“Housing affects the health and well-being of all Lower Kootenay Band members,” says Debbie Edge-Partington, Housing Coordinator, Lower Kootenay Band. “It goes to more than improving homes and making things safer—it also improves the quality of life for the families that live in these homes. I have had community members share how warm their house is now that the attic insulation is upgraded, or their heating bill is less than half the amount than last winter.”

The upgrades are being done through a partnership and over $585,000 in support from the Trust through its First Nations Housing Sustainability Initiative. The project is also receiving support from Indigenous Services Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Association, and FortisBC. The work should be finished by the end of 2019.

“Affordable housing is a concern for many people in the Columbia Basin, including those in First Nations communities,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Trust Director, Delivery of Benefits. “We’re dedicated to helping communities increase or improve their stocks of affordable housing and are pleased this project will impact the lives of Lower Kootenay Band residents.”

The Trust introduced its three-year, $4.5-million First Nations Housing Sustainability Initiative in 2017. It supports First Nations communities in the region to increase their stocks of affordable housing, increase their capacities to manage these assets, and complete repairs and energy retrofits. So far, the initiative has helped create 21 new affordable housing units and improve 71 existing units.

Learn more about the Trust’s housing initiative.