Whapmagoostui launches ‘Helping Homes’ to address housing crisis

Share Button

In response to Whapmagoostui’s severe housing shortage, Chief Louisa Wynne has turned to North Bay, Ontario-based SuperSHELL Homes Corporation.

Chief Wynne was in North Bay July 19 to announce the launch of the Washkahagun Wechihitowin (“Helping Homes”) project along with North Bay Mayor Al McDonald, SuperSHELL Homes co-owner Ross MacLean, and project liaison Peter Wynne of the Moose Cree First Nation.

Whapmagoostui is committing to a pilot project to help low-income families purchase affordable, sustainable homes and to minimize diesel-fuel consumption within the region. At the same time, the project will train community members and new home owners to construct and maintain superior energy-efficient Net Zero Ready housing using SuperSHELL’s building system and skills training program.

The project was initiated by the Moose Cree First Nation in partnership with SuperSHELL, and is modeled on the Habitat for Humanity program.

“We started talking with Great Whale about their housing problem and after much discussion said, ‘Let’s try this project’,” explained Peter Wynne. “We got SuperSHELL on board and now we are getting other corporations to get involved.”

peter_wynne_cropped helping_homes1_cropped

Peter Wynne said the goal is to build two 1400-square-feet homes in the community with a ceiling price of $35,000 to make them available to people in the Income Security Program, which primarily assists hunters and trappers. The families have not been selected, he said, adding that they were looking at a September start date and hopes that construction can be completed within a month.

Whapmagoostui has 900 Cree residents, 90 of them on a waiting list and in desperate need of housing. Chief Wynne said her interest in the project was sparked by Peter Wynne who has pulled together several sponsors, but others within the Cree Nation are needed to get this project really moving forward.

“We are targeting people who are on income security and make under $35,000 annually. The goal is to make affordable, energy-efficient housing for them. Many of them follow a traditional way of life so it is hard for them to step forward because they have to pay for the rent and living expenses for the rental units in the community and then they have to pay for their supplies and transportation to their traplines. This can be expensive because their traplines are only accessible by air,” explained Chief Wynne.

With a goal of sustaining those who wish to live traditionally while reducing the amount of diesel dependency within the community, Chief Wynne said she is hoping that this will inspire people to buy their own homes instead of renting them.

“I would like to encourage and welcome more corporate sponsors to support us with this project and turning it into a reality, especially when it comes to getting off of diesel,” said Chief Wynne.

nadine complete ROXUL

Any entities or individuals looking to get involved with the Washkahagun Wechihitowin project should contact the Whapmagoostui Band Office at 819-929-3384.


Share Button

Comments are closed.