Milestone Habitat for Humanity project touted first of many on First Nations land

WHITEHORSE, YT, Sept. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, Habitat for Humanity, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, and representatives from the Assembly of First Nations began raising the walls on the 'First House' Kų Kàtthe Ä'ą project - Habitat for Humanity's first affordable housing project on First Nations settlement land in Canada. The organization hopes this milestone project will lead to more Habitat homes being built in partnership with Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

"The 'First House' Project is a critical step towards providing quality options to First Nation families and communities in need of affordable housing," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, a driver behind the partnership between the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Habitat for Humanity Yukon. "Our hope is that partnerships like this will begin to benefit more First Nation families and communities right across the country."

With the support of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Habitat for Humanity Canada launched its Aboriginal Housing Program as a pilot in 2007 to better understand how the Habitat homeownership model could be applied to serve Canada's Aboriginal families in need of affordable housing. Since, 34 families, mostly situated in urban areas, have realized safe, decent, and affordable Habitat homeownership, and the program's success had led to its permanent adoption by Habitat in Canada. Over the next five years, the organization is looking to expand its partnership with Aboriginal communities with hopes of serving more Aboriginal families on settlements and reserves.

"Champagne and Aishihik First Nations is working closely with Habitat for Humanity Yukon to enable low-income families to own their own homes," said Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Chief, James Allen. "This partnership fits well with our government's ongoing work to promote healthy, self-reliant community members."

Habitat for Humanity Canada's National Leadership Council, which includes Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, will put hammers to nails this week on the 'First House' project, an affordable triplex housing development being built in Takhini River, 50 kilometres west of Whitehorse. This group of business and political leaders is joining Habitat for Humanity Yukon and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations in an effort to profile the impact homeownership can have on low-income families and how the Habitat homeownership model can be part of the overall Aboriginal housing solution.

To learn more about the 'First House' project, who's partnering on the build and Habitat for Humanity Canada's Aboriginal Housing Program, visit www.habitat.ca.

About Habitat for Humanity Canada
Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. With the help of over 50,000 volunteers every year and 69 affiliate organizations from coast to coast, their mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty in Canada and around the world.

About Champagne & Aishihik First Nations
The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) is a self-governing First Nation located in the southwest Yukon and northern British Columbia. CAFN's Constitutional right to govern its land, people and resources was confirmed with the signing of the CAFN Final Agreement with the governments of Canada and Yukon in 1993.

Of the Yukon's fourteen First Nations, CAFN is one of the largest with a membership of more than 1,100 people. Its Traditional Territory covers 41,000 square kilometers, 29,000 of which are located in the Yukon and 12,000 in British Columbia.

CAFN was named after two of its historic settlements: Champagne, located on the Dezadeash River; and Aishihik, situated at the headwaters of the Alsek River drainage. Formerly, the Southern Tutchone population was located throughout the region in seasonal villages. Today, CAFN has permanent communities in Haines Junction, Canyon, Champagne, Aishihik, Klukshu and Takhini River, and provides housing to about 118 families.

About Habitat for Humanity Yukon
Habitat for Humanity Yukon Society was given official affiliate status in September 2004. Todd Hardy was a founding member and our first President.

Habitat for Humanity-Yukon government partnerships in Whitehorse:

2006 - Single family unit, Kodiak Place, Copper Ridge
2010 - Duplex, Keewenaw Drive, Copper Ridge
2011 - Triplex, 810 Wheeler Street
2012 - Triplex, 15 Pintail Place, Ingram in progress

SOURCE Habitat for Humanity Canada




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