Funding supports affordable housing for Indigenous People in Orillia

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is providing over $6.2 million to help create safe and affordable housing for Indigenous people in Orillia.

“Our government is working closely with our Indigenous program partners to build and acquire longer-term innovative housing solutions to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable people in response to COVID-19,” said Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing.

“This project will ensure that Indigenous community members who may be at risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their current living conditions, have immediate access to safe and affordable housing.”

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario, is using the funding to acquire two new innovative apartment buildings on Elgin Street. The buildings house a total of 27 units and were built using repurposed shipping containers, which allowed the homes to be created faster and more cost-effectively.

“It is great to see Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services partner with the Métis Nation of Ontario to provide access to innovative and affordable housing right here in Orillia,” said Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop. “In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the new variants, we need to provide vulnerable people immediate access to housing so they can stay home and stay safe.”

The Métis Nation of Ontario will provide property management for the three-storey apartment buildings which contain a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments, including two accessible units.

“We are very thankful for Ontario’s partnership and assistance offered through the Social Services Relief Fund,” said Justin Marchand, executive director of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services.

“Working with our partner, the Métis Nation of Ontario, our ability to house and support people today and long into the future allows for greater safety and security for our Indigenous community members. When Indigenous partners lead program delivery, as Ontario has supported, then together, we achieve much better outcomes for people.”

Ontario is providing $465,800 to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services to provide additional support for mental health and addiction services for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness during COVID-19. Funding is part of the government’s recent investments of $147 million to expand access to the provincial mental health and addictions system and the government’s $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to build a fully connected mental health and addictions system across the province.