Huu-ay-aht wants to make its homelands a safe, healthy, appealing place where citizens choose to live. One obstacle to achieving this goal is a shortage of housing. This has been the main reason for a significant push to complete the first phase of the Upper Anacla Subdivision.
In last year’s budget, Huu-ay-aht First Nations Executive Council has established an Independent Housing Panel to explore what is needed within the Nation’s traditional territory. The panel’s mandate is to review Huu-ay-aht’s land use, housing, and related policies, legislation and programs, and recommend practical changes to ensure that the Nation meets its goal of a safe, healthy, appealing place to live.
The Housing Panel has been actively meeting with citizens to gather information, and on April 11 they presented an interim report to Executive Council. As a result of that report, Council approved $2.3 million to be reallocated in the budget to move forward on the first houses in the new subdivision.
Originally a six-plex was planned for the first build. Following feedback from citizens, the panel suggested purchasing six modular homes. These homes will be able to be constructed more quickly than a six-plex. Council approved the recommendation with an arrival date of July 31.
“The housing panel found individual houses are what the community wants,” explained Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis. “Since this will meet the immediate housing need, we approved the recommendation.”
He explained that the Nation may still build the six-plex, but the modular homes will be onsite faster than they could build a six-plex. This will include construction of one four-bedroom, two three-bedroom, two two-bedroom, and one one-bedroom units. A final report will be reviewed by council once costing and other due diligence has been completed. Council must also make a decision on the policy for allocations of the units, including whether they will be owned by Huu-ay-aht citizens or available for rental.
Chief Dennis pointed out that offering the rental option would allow citizens to return to their home without it being a final decision that buying a home would be.
“Rentals allow people to come back and try living at home,” he said. “I think they will love it and want to stay, but this way it offers them that choice.”
Applications for housing can be made through the Huu-ay-aht website at: https://huuayaht.org/housing/