Three Manitoba projects aimed at opening doors to affordable home ownership received a $1-million boost Wednesday.
The money will be divided among the Canadian Mental Health Association (Westman region), SEED Winnipeg and Manitoba Tipi Mitawa to offer home ownership support for up to 51 low-to moderate-income families, Families Minister Scott Fielding said.
"Projects like these are positive, proactive steps to making homeownership a priority as well as making it a reality here in the province of Manitoba," Fielding said in Winnipeg.
"We’re really excited to partner with organizations and provide home ownership for people that can benefit from it.
"We think it’s really important and it’s part of the solution going forward in terms of a housing strategy for the province."
Funding for the three projects (selected by the province after a competitive proposal process) comes from a federal-provincial investment agreement announced in 2016, which will provide almost $90 million in affordable-housing investments in Manitoba over two years.
That comes in addition to approximately $166 million in a joint, eight-year funding commitment to create more affordable housing options in the province.
The investment announcement hit close to home for Kimb Williams, in more ways than one.
With the help of Manitoba Tipi Mitawa (MTM), her family was able to buy their first home eight years ago on the 100 block of Rizer Crescent. The news conference was held at her home.
"The more families that can get involved with a program like this, the better," Williams said.
"There is no way we ever could have got a house, even though we were working hard and had our careers."
Williams, 50, lives with her husband, Neil, and their two children. She works as a graphic designer and said before her family’s involvement in the affordable home ownership program they felt they were working hard to invest in their landlords’ future — not their own.
She said the program has the added benefit of integrating Indigenous families into communities and giving them a sense of pride that comes along with being homeowners.
"By being involved in the program, we were able to establish roots and give our family a home," Williams said. "We were able to get into a good neighbourhood and out of the areas we were living in."
MTM is a non-profit organization established by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Real Estate Association.
As a result of Wednesday’s funding announcement, it will be providing $540,000 to 10 Indigenous families to help transition them into home ownership.
SEED Winnipeg will be provided $199,000 in funding to a cost-matching savings program aimed at helping up to 37 households purchase homes in Winnipeg.
The mental health association will provide up to $261,000 to four households so they can buy three-bedroom condominiums in Brandon.
"It’s about partnership between community and private-sector organizations to provide practical home ownership," Fielding said. "It really provides life-changing opportunities for Manitobans.
"It’s a win, win, win — for the community, for the associations and, most importantly, for the residents who will be able to benefit from having home ownership."