Housing project brings 25 new homes, 45 full-time jobs to Kainai First Nation

Workers are busy putting up walls and installing windows inside a formerly empty warehouse in Standoff, Alta.

Homes are desperately needed for the community which has a population of 13,000

The homes are being built in a formerly empty warehouse in Standoff, Alta. (Lethbridge News Now)

Workers are busy putting up walls and installing windows inside a formerly empty warehouse in Standoff, Alta.

They're part of the Kainai Housing Project that so far has built five homes — with plans to build 20 more by the end of December.

The homes are desperately needed, said Rachel Tailfeathers, the director of Blood Tribe Housing.

"The population of our tribe is around 13,000. On reserve, about 5,000 maybe, and the housing inventory we have is around 1,400 units," Tailfeathers said.

"It's in high need," said Blood Tribe Housing project manager Dale Murphy. "Some people have been waiting two to three years."

Rachel Tailfeathers and Dale Murphy are with Blood Tribe Housing. (Lethbridge News Now)

Funds for the $6.5-million project are provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Blood Tribe Housing.

Fifteen of the homes are headed to Standoff, seven to Cardston and three to rural areas.

People in need from Kainai First Nation can apply for the homes, which are worth about $260,000. They'll pay a monthly payment to the First Nation, who will then pay the mortgage.

"I think people with a new house, it gives them a little pride to know they're getting a house," said Murphy.

The 1,250-sq.-ft. homes all follow the same floor plan — four bedrooms, with laundry on the main floor, and a full foundation that could later be developed into a proper basement if the owners choose.

The Kainai Housing Project aims to build 25 homes by December. (Lethhbridge News Now)

Those that get a home will also be entered into a home maintenance program.

"We have a lot of people that move in and need some kind of guidance on how to maintain a new unit," said Tailfeathers.

The project has created 45 full-time jobs, and also made use of a warehouse that has sat empty for decades, said Coun. Floyd Big Head.

"The main thing is getting our people working," said Big Head. "Right now we're trying to set it up in a way where we won't be losing money, so we can be self-sustainable is the goal."

Big Head said they're hoping to create more certified tradespeople in the community, and eventually expand to building homes elsewhere in western Canada.

"Hopefully in the long run this will be something we can be proud of."

The federal government has pre-approved the project to build another 25 homes once the first 25 are complete.

With files from Lethbridge News Now