This type of housing is commonly referred to as “old band housing”. In our community we have six of these homes. The houses were built with the subsidy amount from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), formerly known as DIA or INAC, and the subsidy could range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending upon the population and location of the Band. The individual who obtained the house often had to take out a loan to be able to complete the house, as the subsidy was usually not enough to cover all the costs. The home owner was then granted a Certificate of Possession (CP) which is proof of lawful possession of reserve lands. Repairs and maintenance of these houses is the responsibility of the homeowner.
Pre-1997 CMHC Housing
Squiala First Nation has six phases of Pre-1997 housing, for a total of 22 housing units. In this program, Squiala First Nation takes out a mortgage with a bank and borrows the money to build the units. There is also an approval process in place with CMHC. The arrangement with CMHC provides a subsidy payment to the Band to help cover the costs of the mortgage because the program is designed to support low income tenants. Rental rates are calculated on an income basis and this is calculated at a rate of 25% of ALL household income. Once the units are paid off, the Band may choose to grant Certificates of Possession to tenants, or retain the units as Band housing and continue to charge rents for maintenance purposes. Repairs and maintenance of these houses is the responsibility of the Band unless the mortgage has been paid out and a CP has been assigned to an individual. Once a CP has been assigned, the Band is no longer responsible for maintenance or repairs. The mortgages on six of these units have now been paid out, and we still have 16 units mortgaged under this program.
Post-1997 CMHC Housing
This program runs essentially the same as the Pre-1997 housing program. The only difference is in the calculation of rents. In this program, the Band is allowed to set a flat rental fee for the units, and rent is not calculated on income. Currently, Squiala has 5 units in this program.
Individual Loan Housing
Individual members who have a good credit rating can go to any bank and negotiate a mortgage to build a home. Once they have a letter from the bank stating that they are pre-approved for a mortgage, they can apply to the Band for a lot to build on. The Band would then grant a CP to the individual and they would proceed to the building stage. These individuals are also eligible for the subsidy grant from AANDC, and these funds are received once the house has been completed and has passed inspection. At this time, Squiala First Nation has an agreement in place with the Bank of Montreal in Chilliwack for supplying mortgages to individuals who wish to follow this process. These mortgages are subject to an individual meeting the criteria of the Bank that are necessary to qualify for a mortgage.