Press Release – $100M Private Housing Initiative Fund

Cree Nation Government Commits $100M in Private-Housing Initiative Fund for Community Members to Unlock Wealth and Access Benefits related to Homeownership

Nemaska, Eeyou Istchee (June 2, 2020)

The Cree Nation Government announces the establishment of a Private Housing Initiative $100M fund to subsidize the construction of new privately-owned homes by and for community members of Eeyou Istchee. The Fund is part of the Cree Nation Government’s multi-faceted approach to addressing the housing crisis in Eeyou Istchee.

Just as other First Nations across Canada, the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee has been subject to unacceptable health risks created by poor housing conditions. The current COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these already precarious conditions. How can we legitimately ask people to practice physical distancing or self-isolation in a three-bedroom home with 18 people?

During the last 3 years, the Cree Nation Government has been focussed on addressing a wide spectrum of barriers to homeownership and financial security for Cree family households, from discriminatory redlining of First Nations communities by insurance companies to the adaptation and establishment of appropriate construction standards that meet the realities of our society and climate.

The $100M fund will subsidize the cost of construction of new homes, to compensate for the difference between the cost of construction in our communities as compared to similar non-Native communities. In combination with the amendment to the 2017 Cree Canada Governance Agreement lifting the time limitation on grants of land to Crees for private homeownership, community members now have the potential to truly own their own houses and to be part of a genuine housing market with real financial benefits and equity for families.

Grand Chief Dr. Abel Bosum stated, “I am grateful that all the Cree Chiefs of Eeyou Istchee unanimously supported the creation of this fund, giving all our community members the opportunity to become proud homeowners and, in turn, free the resources needed to help other families access the appropriate housing to match their income and needs. The fund also represents an opportunity for our young Cree professionals and workers and their families to come home and contribute to their community and find the financial security and growth in family wealth that comes with owning your own home.”

The fund will stimulate new construction providing economic stimulus to the entire region of Northern Quebec, benefitting not only Cree communities but also our non-Native neighbors and partners. The Cree Nation Government is proud to contribute to the recovery of the Quebec economy while improving the lives of the people of Eeyou Istchee. The Cree Nation Government will continue collaborating with the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada to find innovative projects and partnerships to address the chronic issue of housing in First Nations communities.

For more information

For more information on this press release please contact:

Bill Namagoose

Executive Director