New Brunswick

Tobique First Nation to build house for first time in 13 years

Tobique First Nation is breaking ground on a new house for the first time in over a decade because a partnership with a charity group.

Tobique becomes first First Nation in Atlantic Canada to get Habitat home

Tobique First Nation to build first house in over a decade after partnership with Habitat for Humanity. (Submitted)

Tobique First Nation is breaking ground on a new house for the first time in over a decade because a partnership with a charity group. 

"We haven't built a house here in over 13 years because of [Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada's] intervention policy, it does not allow for First Nation communities to build homes while they're in third party management," said Chief Ross Perley on Shift

The Maliseet community partnered with Habitat for Humanity Fredericton to begin building one home. Perley said if it all goes well more can be expected to deal with overcrowding.

Perley said for a population of 2,200 there are 383 houses, and feels the community needs 150 more houses.

"There are just some families that are large and I know for one family in particular they have about 12 occupants in their home," said Perley. "There's another family that I can think of where there's four generations in the house."

He said overcrowding leads to a host of community problems with education and health. Perley also thinks proper housing could address missing and murdered Indigenous women.

"Young women are more inclined to leave their home due to overcrowding … Where if they had a home that was efficient, they may stay longer," said Perley.

Memorandum of Understanding

Tobique and Habitat for Humanity Fredericton signed a memorandum of understanding which will see the first Habitat house on constructed on reserve land in Atlantic Canada.

After a sod-turning event earlier in the week, Perley said the house and anyone's after it will be rent to own. The potential homeowners will make monthly payments on the house after paying it off.

"If we can't count on Indian affairs then we better start looking elsewhere, I guess, to satisfy our housing needs in the community," said Perley.

with files from Shift