Tla’amin Nation Housing Webinar – Our Past, Present, and Future
Questions and Answers
On May 26, 2021 Tla’amin Nation hosted a housing webinar open to all citizens. The session was hosted by Housepost Dillon Johnson, Director of Public Works, Richard Gage, Housing Manager, Andrea Paul, and Project Manager, Carmen Galligos. Topics discussed included the History of housing and housing policy, tenant and landlord responsibilities, rental arrears, policies, future housing developments. Over 30 Tla’amin people attended, here are the questions and answers from the event.
- What steps is Tla’amin Nation taking to ensure that the government and governance structures are not replacing the role of INAC and Indian Agents on their own constituents? i.e. The band acting as the “Indian Agent” and controlling the agency of Tla’amin people?
We are taking the steps that will give citizens options for housing in the community. It will take some time to reverse the damage and legacy left by the colonial structures and programs imposed by DIA / INAC.
- Homes were intentionally underdeveloped and constructed with poor and inadequate materials. Is there funding from the treaty settlement allocated to this issue that stems from INAC, DIA, AANDC, or ISC?
No, but we have allocated some own source revenues to addressing health and safety issues in housing.
- In respect to old concepts like the Dominion Lands Act of Canada (1872) and the Homestead Act (United States – 1862) that would give 160 acres of land for free to settlers – as an incentive to bring people to Canada or US. This history is what resulted in thousands of acres of unceded land to become fee-simple and create generational wealth for settlers and generational poverty for First Nations on reserve. Will Tla’amin Nation allow or consider Tla’amin people to stake claim to X-Amount of acres within our territory to own and build homes on? For examples, I would love to build in a rural setting and outside the current designated development area. Would Tla’amin consider a Homestead Act and consider historical family occupied land?
The Nation does not necessarily want to replicate instruments like the Homestead Act. We have heard from citizens a strong interest in obtaining lease or similar interest lands and would have the ability to offer a program like that. This will require a lot of planning, discussion and process development to make sure that such a program is delivered in an fair, organized and wellthought out way.
- Why were there only a certain amount of people that got a Certificate of
CP’s were awarded back in the 1950’s. Only those who requested a Certificate of Possession from Chief & Council and were approved were then granted CP from DIA / INAC. There are no more CP’s in existence ever since the treaty took effect. They were all converted to Tla’amin Citizen Land Title (restricted fee simple ownership).
- Can we have more education/knowledge on basic maintenance of homes?
(Chimney cleaning, bathroom fan cleaning, dryer vent cleaning)
Absolutely. We will be posting information on the Tla’amin Website on Tenant vs. Landlord
responsibilities as well as basic maintenance of homes.
- Is a signed BCR as good as a CP?
No, but signed BCR’s have been used in the past to award home ownership in the past.
Again, there no more CP’s in existence ever since the treaty took effect. They were all
converted to Tla’amin Citizen Land Title (restricted fee simple ownership).
In this post-treaty world, land ownership is awarded through an Executive Council Order (similar
to a BCR). It needs to be backed up by a checklist of factors from Lands, Housing and Finance
Departments to confirm that the citizen, home and property meet the criteria for ownership.
- Do our homes still have insurance and how long will the Nation pay for this?
Yes. All homes in the Nation are insured by Tla’amin Nation unless a private homeowner has
chosen to go on their own with another company. Private homeowners must pay the deductible
if they have to make a claim. There is no time frame for how long the Nation will offer this
- How are homes prioritized that need repairs?
Homes are being prioritized based on emergent health and safety needs as well as prioritizing
accessibility repairs for Elders in the Nation. We’re in progress of inspecting every home in the
Nation to determine health and safety repairs needed.
- What is the ratio of Band or Nation owned assets to individual citizens – regarding
212 Nation owned homes. 129 private homes, not including leases.
- Is there a homeowners education course we can take?
At this time, no, but it is something we are looking to provide in the future.
- If misunderstanding and dependency is an in-direct result of the Indian Act, how
do we evaluate the 165 accounts that are in arrears?
Arrears are evaluated on a case-by-case basis informed by available documentation, fairness and hardship.
- Have we ever analyzed arrears and the homes or individuals that received funding for home improvement?
No, this analysis has not been undertaken.
- Have there been situations that people have received funding over people that truly needed it?
Likely this is true, the way that the Nation’s housing program has evolved has at times resulted in inconsistent decision-making. We are working to address this through better policy and a universal tenancy agreement.
- Although social housing is nation assets and situations arise of tenants not paying rent, however, didn’t the federal government subsidize and provide the band funding to manage these assets? So technically speaking, the maintenance of the asset comes from the federal government more than the tenant paying less than 1k a month? Is that dynamic considered in the review of the arrears?
Any subsidies received over the years fall well short of the costs associated with maintaining homes and operating a housing program.
- Am I able to rent-to-own my home?
Renting to own is possible in some circumstances, not all homes will be granted home ownership because we need to retain some social housing units for use of future generations. Rent to own is something the Nation is considering for future new constructions.
- Could it be possible to consider arrears as a by-product of the Indian Act Reserve System and the colonial pursuits subdued onto us – and use treaty settlement funds to liquidate the arrears and not further hinder citizens on SA?
Then provide education and understand for these people so they understand their position as a tenant and have the ability to get out of SA?
It is possible but not advisable for the Nation nor would it be fair to citizens that have paid and continue to pay their rent.
- Who in the Nation can help us with the process of being able to work and live in Canada? My family wants to work and live there but have been born and raised in the states. My son and brother have applied for employment that they qualify working for Tla’amin Nation but have never worked/lived in Canada
First Nations people wanting to live and work in Canada would have to apply for immigration which Tla’amin does not sponsor. The Jay Treaty, which allows Canadian First Nations people to travel freely into the United States, does not apply the other way around.
This website has more information on the process of immigrating from United States to Canada.
- For anyone who has submitted for home ownership, what are the next steps or process to receive ownership? How long can be anticipate until ownership is received?
The steps for homeownership are as follows
– Submitting a letter requesting home ownership with any supporting documents.
– A finance statement is attained from Finance Department showing payments and presence of any outstanding arrears.
– A due diligence form is filled out by Housing Manager with recommendations and provided to Executive Council.
- Is there a wait list that we can or should be on if we currently live in the states?
Yes, any Tla’amin citizen 19 or older can apply to be on the housing waiting list by filling out our application form and returning it to the Housing Department. The housing application can be found here and can be scanned/emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org