A local non-profit organization has partnered with Oneida Nation of the Thames to build accessible housing on the First Nation.
The Imagine Build partnership solicits donations to fund housing for overcrowded families or members who do not live on the First Nation but wish to return home. There are currently 47 applicants on a waiting list.
âUnfortunately, overcrowding is a real problem in our community,â Chrisjohn said.
âWe have great and wonderful grandmothers and aunts who are ready to help their children and sometimes raise their grandchildren. It’s in our culture, it’s in our traditions to do that. But obviously when the house is not suitable for taking another family, so it just becomes unsustainable or safe. ”
London morning6.30amBuilding accessible housing on Oneida Nation of the Thames
Financing a mortgage can be one of the biggest barriers to building homes in a First Nation.
Usually, Christjohn said, a band council must sign as a guarantor of the loan amount because the Indian Act prevents banks from taxing or seizing property on reserves. Budgets are generally limited.
Imagine Build aims to raise $ 350,000 to help eligible applicants house housing. Chrisjohn said the hope is to begin construction this spring on First Nation owned land where there is water and sewer connectivity.
Four lots are reserved for the project. The houses will be designed with accessibility in mind, with two to three bedrooms each.
Although homeownership is the ultimate goal, Oneida is also exploring the possibility of subsidizing the rent of homes.
âWe know a lot of families in our community are struggling,â Chrisjohn said.
âThere just aren’t a lot of jobs or opportunities. The Nation is the biggest employer in the community and very often people have to travel outside of the community to London or St. Thomas or the surrounding municipalities to work. So we are trying to help families instead of massively indebting them which they just cannot afford and which are viable. ”
Donations for Imagine Build can be made through the partnership’s website.
âPeople really want to help,â added Chrisjohn. “I think this is an initiative that people can really buy into and see where their donations are going.”