VANCOUVER -- The federal government announced Friday that it would be providing nearly $7 million for the construction of 19 affordable homes in two Vancouver Island First Nations.

The funding is part of the projects stream of the federal Rapid Housing Initiative, a $2.5-billion program intended "to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by providing them with permanent affordable housing," according to a news release from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

A total of $500 million was available to fund projects provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations in the program's first round of applications, which closed in December. Another $500 million was allocated to the program's major cities stream.

The federal government has approved another $1.5 billion for the program in its 2021 budget, according to the CMHC.

The two projects announced Friday see a total of 19 homes built in two First Nations on Vancouver Island. Eleven units will be built on Huu-ay-aht First Nation land and eight will be built on Uchucklesaht Tribe land.

The Huu-ay-aht project will bring the total number of new homes built on the nation's land to 22, said Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. in the news release.

"We have made a commitment to our people to create a safe, healthy place to live where they can connect with the land and their culture," Dennis said. "Thanks to the timely contribution from CMHC, we are able to offer affordable housing to more of our citizens so they can move home and enjoy our wonderful homeland.”

Chief Charlie Cootes of the Uchucklesaht Tribe Government shared a similar sentiment in the CMHC release, describing the project as "true reconciliation."

“The Rapid Housing Initiative came just in time as every house in the village of the Uchucklesaht people was deemed unlivable," Cootes said. "With this funding, we will see eight new homes built and make it possible for eight families to move back home."

The Rapid Housing Initiative is part of the federal government's National Housing Strategy, and is administered by the CMHC. 


This story has been updated to reflect the total value of the federal program. It is $2.5 billion, not $2 billion.