Six Nations and Habitat for Humanity tackle housing crisis

Councillor Helen Miller holds a diagram of what the construction of a new building will look like (Photo by Jim C. Powless)

By Lisa Iesse
Writer
Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and Habitat for Humanity are tackling the community’s housing crisis with the building of a multi -unit complex that will house five families.
It’s the largest housing development at Six Nations in a number of years.
“Going forward we’re going to make sure that the housing that we are providing is safe, that it’s accessible and that it continues to be,” said Lily Ann Mt. Pleasant, acting director of Six Nations housing.
She added the development is much needed.
“Not only for us but the next generation coming in, that they are all going to be realized with these programs and services.”
Mt. Pleasant said community housing was needed.
“It’s so important for our young people now, they don’t have to go off the territory.”
Onondaga One’s Groundbreaking Ceremony Tuesday, (Jan 24, 2023) invited Six Nations community members, band councillors, and Six Nations Housing along with local chapters of Habitat for Humanity to mark the completion of the foundation of Onondaga One on Harold Street.
The five-unit townhome is slated for completion this summer.
Onondaga One is a an innovative five-unit housing project that will provide safe and affordable rental options for Six Nations families.
The project is led by Six Nations Housing, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Hamilton and Habitat Heartland with the support of the Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Trust and Indigenous Services Canada.
Another 20-unit assisted living housing development for Six Nations elders is being constructed nearby on Harold Street. This building is the result of a partnership between the department, social services, and health services. The facility will offer culturally appropriate services for Six Nations members requiring assisted living.
Mt. Pleasant, explained the project actually began in 2021, but COVID 19 presented delays to the work that was planned.
“It’s been a long journey to get here and I’m very, very grateful for all the partners that helped us get to this point, and who will help us complete this build,” she said.
SNEC is working with staff to create an emergency housing policy. A progress report on emergency housing policy is slated for early February.
Mt. Pleasant gave a big shout out to all the players in making the project possible including Habitat for Humanity Hamilton, Habitat Heartland, the Six Nations Economic Development Corporation, Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Trust and Indigenous Services Canada.
“This is really important to our hearts, we see that we can form a relationship. Keep moving forward and with the transfer of certain lands from our Economic Development Corporation will now be able to formulate plans for new housing projects and we’re really looking forward to that,” Mt Pleasant said.
Mt Pleasant gave a big thank you to Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Trust and Indigenous Services Canada, saying “without who the project would not have been possible.”
She said it was important for the community to know about the partnerships.
“It’s important for our community to know and other communities to know because there might be people out there who are afraid to reach out. You know, when we talk about reconciliation, it’s a very difficult subject for a lot of people and they want to help, but they may not know how to approach us. So I think it’s important to see that we’re open to it .”
Councillor Greg Frazier said housing needs of Southern First Nations are as important as those of the north.
He said colonization has led to the situation First Nations are now in and the federal government is not holding up its treaty obligation.
He said the Habitat for Humanity partnership was an “important partnership” and more should be happening.

 

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