June 18th, 2024

Housing supports announced for Metis Albertans

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 2, 2022.

The Metis Nation of Alberta’s Metis Capital Housing Corporation (MCHC) has brought home some programs for Metis citizens in several key areas.

With down payment assistance, home repairs assistance, rental supplement, student rental supplement, and newly-added mortgage assistance the initiative comes under the MCHC’s mandate to provide affordable housing to low- and moderate-income Metis families in Alberta.

“These programs are funded by the federal government,” said Bindu Bonneau, senior director of operations at Metis Urban Housing Corporation and MCHC. “In 2018 the Federal Government announced around $500 million over the next 10 years to support distinction-based funding to Metis nations throughout Canada. These programs were established with that funding.”

Canada’s 2021 census data reveals that approximately one in twelve Metis live in crowded housing not suitable for the number of people living there. Additionally, one in ten Metis were living in a dwelling in need of major repairs.

“We established the home repair program because we knew the state of many of our Metis citizen’s homes are not in good shape,” said Bonneau. “They need support, and homeowners are struggling. People were not able to be a homeowner because they do not have the down payment, so we brought in a down payment assistance program.”

Metis Albertans who make $150,000 or less can have the MCHC offer up to a five per cent down payment on the purchase of a home up to a maximum of $20,000 per successful application. In home repairs, those making the same or less can receive up to $20,000 for repairs to cover the costs of renovations or repairs, while $5,400 can be received per year towards rent, with students receiving up to $200 per month. With the new mortgage assistance program applicants receive up to $5,000 paid directly to the lender. To apply, Metis citizens of Alberta can go to metishousing.ca/applications to fill out an application.

“The process is on our website. People will fill out the application, attaching all documents needed. Then there is a vetting process where we go through all those documents and ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria,” said Bonneau. “We need to make sure we are supporting families who are in need of these funds.”

Working with Metis citizens, the new funding will open more possibilities for home ownership and rent payments.

“These programs should be given the full attention by every government,” said Bonneau. “A non-profit organization alone cannot do everything. It has to be a collective effort to support people who are vulnerable and struggling with housing support or related issues.”

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