Place-making: From Housing to Homes
Some Huu-ay-aht citizens ask what the benefits of the Maa-Nulth Treaty are. As of April 1, 2013 Residential Lease Amendment is coming into effect so that the residents of Anacla can point to one tangible benefit; Anacla residents have signed lease documents and can now benefit from the value of their properties. Last year residents had the option to either sign a rental agreement for HFN owned properties or sign a 99-year lease. All former renters paid one dollar and signed a lease document for their properties. These properties had no value to their occupants except as residences under the Indian Act. The Citizen Development Committee, with consultation from Anacla residents, developed this strategy for HFN houses as a long-term approach to self-reliance. Most Anacla residents now, for the first time, own their own homes.
The Nation does not have the financial resources to provide subsidized housing for all on Treaty Settlement Lands but has the long-term goal of assisting those who want to live at Home to have the opportunity to do so. The planned subdivision in upper Anacla is an important next step, but home ownership is an immediate and visible benefit to those already living in Anacla. When this law comes into force on April 1, home owners might choose to rent their homes to others, or transfer or will the leases. Agreements have been made with Royal Bank of Canada to enable lease-holders to secure loans against the value of the house (and lot) in order to make improvements.
“Creating legislation around housing on Treaty Settlement Lands gives each citizen more control over their future and starts to build a modern economy while providing a direct benefit that was not possible under Federal regulation”, says Larry Johnson, Director of Lands and Natural Resources. Policies like these are great examples of Huu-ay-aht emerging from under the Indian Act and into self-government.