Community leaders at Rat Portage are happy to see six families move into new housing.
"I like seeing those young people starting up. Starting with their families and moving out of their overcrowded house," said First Nation Councillor Donny Big George.
According to Indigenous Services Canada, Ottawa provided $1.2 million to support this project that provides six families with new, comfortable and modern homes. As of September 30, $95.9 million has been allocated in Ontario for housing in First Nations communities, including building 402 homes and renovating or upgrading 718 units.
“Congratulations Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation on your new homes! This six unit complex, supported by the Government of Canada, illustrates what can be accomplished when we work together to meet the housing needs of First Nation communities. We remain committed to making significant investments in housing and closing the housing gap for Indigenous communities,” said the minister responsible for Indigenous Services, Jane Philpott
“With the help of the Government of Canada, we are able to reduce the need for housing in our First Nation. These new homes will contribute to a healthier life and a sense of belonging for families in our community,” said Chief Christopher Skead of the Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation
"Let's put it this way, we're over 600 people registered on the band list, and we've only got 300-400 living on the community. We've still got a long way to go to get the housing," Big George added.
Along with the new housing units, the federal government is also spending more than $7 million on water service upgrades. This includes talks with the neighbouring City of Kenora on extending water lines to the First Nation, which Big George hopes a boil water advisory will end next year, after more than 20 years.
Along with helping with the servicing of new housing units, the water upgrades should also help improve prospects for commercial development, such as a new casino building or marina expansion.
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