COURTENAY, BC, May 5, 2023 /CNW/ – Indigenous Elders, individuals and people living with disabilities with low- to moderate-incomes will soon have access to 40 new affordable homes in Courtenay.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville, Ravi Kahlon, BC Minister of Housing, Bob Wells, Mayor of Courtenay, and Monica Goodheart, President of the  Wachiay Friendship Centre, announced a combined investment of over $10.4 million for the Naut’sa mawt. Construction will soon be underway and is expected to be complete late in 2024.

Located at 1679 McPhee Ave., Naut’sa mawt (meaning ‘together as one’) will be a five-storey building featuring a mix of studio and one-bedroom affordable homes close to amenities such as the Wachiay Friendship Centre, public transit, a community centre and commercial services.  

Wachiay Friendship Centre Society (WFCS) will own the building and will provide culturally appropriate programming and supports for their clients, including gathering space for residents to host cultural events like feasts, dance regalia, drumming, and storytelling. M’akola Housing Society will provide operational services through a mentorship agreement with WFCS.

The WFCS is a non-profit organization that provides services to more than 7,000 urban dwelling Indigenous People in the region. It delivers more than 50 programs and services to Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. 

Funding provided for this project includes: 

  • The federal government, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is providing $2 million through its National Housing Co-Investment Fund.
  • The Province, through BC Housing, is contributing $4.5 million through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund; $2.7 million through a Cost Pressure Grant, and; an annual operating subsidy that is being finalized.
  • The Comox Valley Regional District is providing $260,000 through a Homelessness Supports Service grant.
  • The City of Courtenay is providing a fee exemption of almost $90,000.
  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is providing a grant of $25,000.
  • Wachiay Friendship Centre Society is contributing the land at approximately $878,000 and $5,000 towards the project.


“No relationship is more important to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. The 40 new affordable homes being built right here in Courtenay will meet the pressing need for affordable housing within this community. Through similar investments like the one announced here today, we’re working hard to build strong, healthy communities and improve the quality of life for those most in need. This is the National Housing Strategy in action.” – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

“Thanks to this partnership, residents of Courtenay will have access to safe and affordable homes. Indigenous elders provide invaluable contributions to their communities. Making sure that they have safe and affordable homes is one way to give back to them. The Naut’sa mawt project will enable members of Courtenay to remain close to their families and friends, lead fulfilling lives and contribute to the well-being of their communities.”  Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville

“We are so grateful to our community partners, including the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society, for making sure that we provide the homes community members need. Delivering more affordable housing through partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations is a core part of our housing plan. These 40 new homes will be instrumental for many individuals and families, helping them build good lives in and with their community.” — The Honourable Ravi Kahlon, B.C. Minister of Housing

“We are pleased to begin another much-needed affordable housing project in the community. Indigenous Elders, families, and people living with disabilities will soon enjoy these new homes, close to their family and friends. We look forward to seeing the new homes stand, where people can live safely and worry-free close to their community.”
—  Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for CourtenayComox

“It’s so great to see this project moving forward in Courtenay with the construction of this affordable and culturally-appropriate housing for Indigenous people in our region, and the collaboration with the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society and M’akola Housing Society. The Province is making significant efforts to tackle the housing crisis in British Columbia. The City of Courtenay is excited for this much-needed investment in our community and pleased to provide our support.”Bob Wells, Mayor of Courtenay 

“It has been a dream of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society to create affordable housing for over 20 years.  Through the hard work of the staff and Board of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society it is now happening. Wachiay is very proud to be able to provide even more support to the community we all love.”Monica Goodheart, President, Wachiay Friendship Centre Society

Quick facts: 

  • The National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF) is a $13.2 billion program under the National Housing Strategy (NHS) that gives priority to projects that help people who need it most, including women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those with mental health or addiction issues, veterans, and young adults.
  • Budget 2022 proposes to advance $2.9 billion in funding under the NHCF to accelerate the creation of up to 4,300 new units and the repair of up to 17,800 units.
  • Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $82-plus billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
  • NHS is built on strong partnerships between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and continuous engagement with others, including municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the social and private housing sectors. This includes consultations with Canadians from all walks of life, and people with lived experience of housing need.
  • All NHS investments delivered by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments will respect the key principles of NHS that support partnerships, people, and communities.
  • This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government.
  • In April 2023, the Province introduced the new housing plan called Homes for People, to deliver more homes people need in a shorter timeframe and build more vibrant communities throughout B.C.
  • Budget 2023 supports the Homes for People action plan, starting with more than $4 billion over three years and a commitment to invest $12 billion over the next 10 years to deliver more homes for people, faster.
  • This builds on the 2018 Homes for B.C. plan, which was the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.’s history – $7 billion dollars – and introduced effective tools to tackle speculation and increase the number of rentals.
  • The Province is already on track to deliver a projected 114,000 homes completed or under active construction by 2027/28 – with tens of thousands of more homes to come through other avenues.
  • In April 2018, the Province announced the Community Housing Fund, to help deliver more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for people with low and moderate incomes.
  • With the additional investments through the Province’s Homes for People action plan, the Community Housing Fund will deliver 6,000 more units, bringing the total to 20,000 new homes.
  • Since 2017, the Province has delivered more than 74,000 new homes that have been completed or are underway, including more including nearly 230 homes in Courtenay.

Additional Information: 

  • As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, please visit:
  • CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford and that meets their needs. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, please visit
  • A map showing the location of all announced provincially-funded housing projects in BC is available online:
  • To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit:

SOURCE Government of Canada

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