New Housing Complex for Cowichan Elders
Cowichan Tribes – A home care complex for Cowichan Elders is to be built on Cowichan lands in late spring of 2009. Cowichan Tribes Council recently gave approval for the 50 unit independent living project to be constructed on band lands across the street from the band administration offices and close to the ‘elders centre’.
“The project is ready to go, the lease can be signed and construction started in the spring of 2009” said Chief Lydia Hwitsum.
“This will provide badly needed housing for our Elders and for people with disabilities that are easily accessible and keep families together in our community. It will also provide the opportunity for approximately 15 jobs for Cowichan members who undertake the necessary educational training”, added the Chief.
“Cowichan Tribes has been actively pursuing new ways of developing housing on Cowichan lands for our people. It is nice to see that our first initiative after the very successful North American Indigenous Games is through an innovative process that will create homes for our elders”, stated the Chief.
Judith Gohn, health director of the Tse’wulhtun health centre will work directly with M’akola Housing Society and the Vancouver Island Health Authority in assisting Cowichan elders who may be eligible.
M’akola Housing Society will undertake the construction and management of the $16 million facility on behalf of Cowichan Tribes.
Kevin Albers, Executive Director of M’akola Housing Society said this is, “the first of its kind” that will be constructed on First Nations land in partnership with Cowichan Tribes, BC Housing, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and a non profit society.
He said all the parties should be commended on their determination to make this happen in spite of numerous hurdles, which comes with trying something new and creative.
Albers said M’akola had undertaken projects like this on non First Nations lands but with this unique partnership part of his mandate is also to provide management and operational training for Cowichan members to be able to take over at a later date. He said the building will be turned over to Cowichan Tribes at the end of the agreement.
Chief Hwitsum said she was especially pleased that construction for the elders’ home complex, “comes as one of several legacies emanating from the Games. The eyes of the country were on Cowichan and it has helped us greatly in moving ahead on a number of major initiatives for Cowichan Tribes”.
For Further information contact:
Director of Communications
Jenn K. George
250 701 8381
M'akola Housing Society
Kevin A. Albers, CGA - Executive Director
250-384-1423 Ext 110
877-384-1423 Ext 110