Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax gets $4M from federal government toward new building

Centre says no location selected yet for new facility

Image | Pamela Glode-Desrochers

Caption: Pamela Glode-Desrochers is executive director of the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax. (CBC)

The Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre in downtown Halifax is getting $4 million from the federal government toward building a new home.
The centre has served the Indigenous population in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) since it opened its doors in 1972, and is exactly what Charlotte Bernard needed when she moved to the city from Sipekne'katik First Nation, about 66 kilometres northwest of Halifax.
Bernard said she came to the city with $20 in her pocket 27 years ago and went from being a client to the triage manager for the centre. She said she's excited for the day the centre gets a permanent home. 
"I can't wait for the day that we open the doors of our new friendship centre because I'm going to be standing there all proud," said Bernard.
The centre works to address homelessness and other problems facing the urban Indigenous population. It offers around 55 programs including early childhood education, harm reduction and culture and language programming.
There are over 7,000 Indigenous people living in the HRM and the friendship centre says they need more space for all the services they provide. The centre has moved three times, including a move in January.
On Thursday, Indigenous Services Canada pledged $4 million from the major infrastructure fund of the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples program toward design and construction of a permanent location. The centre still has no location secured and estimates it may need an additional $35 million to $65 million in funding for the new space.
WATCH | Funding announced at Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre

Media Video | CBC News Nova Scotia : Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre receives $4M for new facility

Caption: The centre is set to build a new home on Gottingen Street but it's still millions of dollars away from its goal. Preston Mulligan reports.

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"The next step for us is securing that land, so fingers crossed that will happen soon," said Pamela Glode-Desrochers, executive director of the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre. 
The centre is also receiving $910,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Jobs and Growth Fund to increase the economic opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs.