Province invests $1.8M in Cambridge’s first Indigenous affordable housing units

By Joe McGinty

The government of Ontario has allocated $1.8 million to help fund an affordable housing project aimed at helping indigenous families. 

The KW Urban Native Wigwam Project (KWUNWP) has been in the process of building the 30 unit building at 27 Cambridge St. in downtown Galt for over a year, breaking ground on the site in June. The provincial funding will serve as the next step in securing the city’s first affordable housing building dedicated to indigenous individuals and families. 

“K-W Urban Native Wigwam Project is very grateful for the funding support from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for this amazing build,” said  Lee Ann Hundt, executive director, KWUNWP. 

The announcement is part of the province’s Social Services Relief Fund, which has allocated over $1.2 billion of support to help municipal service managers and indigenous program administrators create longer-term housing solutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The development on Cambridge Street will not also act as the first one bedroom units for indigenous people in the region, but will also be one of the first native cultural centres available to the community. 

The Ontario government will also increase support under the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program (ISHP) from $13.3 million in 2021-22 to $30 million this fiscal year. This program specializes in providing Indigenous people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness housing assistance and support services. 

“Today’s announcement is wonderful news for Cambridge and the Indigenous community,” said MPP for Cambridge Brian Riddell. “Everyone deserves safe, affordable housing, and this project will provide that and so much more to those who call it home. This investment in our community will have a tremendous impact on our collective effort to address the need for affordable housing in Cambridge and across the province.”

The province is also adding $25 million to the Homelessness Prevention Program, bringing the annual budget to $464 million. This program helps municipalities streamline operations to spend less time on paperwork and more time finding homes for the unsheltered. 

According to minister of indigenous affairs, Greg Rickford, this affordable housing initiative is a part of the government's multi-billion-dollar plan that will address the housing needs of all Ontarians. They want to create a culturally appropriate setting for the urban indigenous population, and initiatives like KWUNWP is a prefect example. 

“This project will be the first for the City of Cambridge as well as the Indigenous community. We have never had one-bedroom units available before and we are very excited to offer this to our single people, couples, elders and students, Chi-Miigwetch (Big Thank you) from all of us,” said Hundt. 

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