Safe and affordable housing is a challenge for Aboriginal communities across Canada.
And to help find a solution, the Flying Dust First Nation – in the words of Chief Richard Gladue – has created “a partnership for better living, and a vision for more.”
Elders on the Flying Dust First Nation, near Lloydminster, Sask., have taken housing issues into their own hands, and forged an historic, one-of-a-kind initiative. As part of a unique partnership with Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster, and the Enbridge Aboriginal Home Program, Flying Dust’s housing program marks Habitat for Humanity Canada’s first on-reserve build – and will make home ownership a reality for multiple members of the community.
Developing a 10-unit, independent-living Elder Lodge will give Flying Dust elders the flexibility to move to smaller housing units that suit their lifestyle. The homes vacated by elders will then be retrofitted for younger families.
It’s estimated that about one-quarter of Aboriginal households don’t meet the minimal standards for acceptable housing. Chief Gladue, who was elected leader of the Flying Dust First Nation in December 2014, commends the community’s previous leadership for not only starting the housing conversation, but continuing it throughout the years.
“They put the program in motion, and did the groundwork,” he says.
There’s been no shortage of helping hands for this project. Habitat for Humanity volunteers came all the way from Toronto and Moncton, N.B. “We’ve met wonderful people from across the country, for every stage and experience in this project,” says Chief Gladue. “Some volunteers even chose Flying Dust over Hawaii.”
At Enbridge, we understand that life takes energy, and we’re proud to bring it to you in many small but meaningful ways – in particular through our community investments.
The total cost of the Elder Lodge on the Flying Dust First Nation is about $1.6-million. Enbridge’s sponsorship of $50,000 is part of our Enbridge Aboriginal Home Program – a $1-million, five-year commitment to sponsor four Aboriginal home builds a year as part of Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Aboriginal Housing Program.
In recent weeks, Enbridge representatives joined First Nations Chiefs and dignitaries from across Saskatchewan on the Flying Dust First Nation for an All Chiefs Build to help commemorate this historic housing project.
“It’s this kind of exemplary partnership and forward-thinking approach that will ensure the health and success of the Flying Dust First Nation community,” says Kim Brenneis, Enbridge’s Director of Stakeholder and Aboriginal Engagement.
The Flying Dust First Nation Elder Lodge is expected to open in the fall of 2015.
“It’s organizations like Enbridge who believe in First Nations communities, that lead the way for other partners,” says Vivian Pengelly, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster.
Significantly, the Flying Dust First Nation Elders have already decided on a name for their new living space.
It’s Kikinaw – the Cree term for “our home.”