Overcrowded, substandard housing is a widespread and persistent problem in First Nations communities, contributing to health problems and poor educational outcomes. As long as First Nations are dependent on limited and restrictive federal funds for housing, the situation is unlikely to improve.
However, as the Huron-Wendat have shown in Quebec, an alternative is to operate a housing loan fund that enables band members to build and own their homes. They do so with an Aboriginal Capital Corporation (called ABSCAN) with whom the Foundation has partnered to disseminate this approach, initially in Quebec, and now across Canada.
Inspired by the Huron-Wendat’s success, däna Näye Ventures (dNV) – ABSCAN’s Yukon-based counterpart – plans to provide housing loans to members of 14 Indigenous communities located throughout the Yukon and Northern BC.
däna Näye’s “Home Ownership Financing in Yukon First Nation Communities”project will comprise the following activities over the next three years:
- develop policies and procedures for a suite of housing loan products adapted from those of the Aboriginal Savings and Loans Corporation (ABSCAN) and Six Nations of the Grand River,
- train staff and develop support materials for home ownership lending
- engage with the first six Yukon First Nation communities
- solicit investments in a home ownership loan fund from communities, the territorial government and social finance investors to complement däna Näye’s own capital
- offer loans and support to individuals and First Nations.
Background of the organization:
däna Näye Ventures is a certified Aboriginal Financial Institution providing business development and financial services to people throughout the Yukon and three Northern British Columbia communities.
It is a trusted Indigenous-led lender with a $15-million commercial loan portfolio,and is a leading member of NACCA, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association. Through extensive consultations, däna Näye has identified six communities that are ready to introduce home ownership lending. däna Näye is using its own capital to develop a demonstration loan portfolio. The General Manager of däna Näye, Elaine Chambers, is a respected First Nation business leader who has led the organization since its inception 20 years ago.