December 9th, 2019, North Vancouver — The Squamish Nation is proud to announce the appointment of three Nation members and four independent board directors for the Nation’s new not-for-profit housing organization, Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Housing Society (“Hiy̓ám̓ Housing”). The appointments are for two and four years.
The Squamish Nation established Hiy̓ám̓ Housing to lead the development of new affordable housing for the Squamish People. The organization will be mandated to develop multi-storey housing for a range of income levels, from ‘very low’ to ‘moderate’ incomes and more. Hiy̓ám̓ Housing will also be responsible for the property management of all housing units under its administration.
The following individuals have been appointed to the board for Hiy̓ám̓ Housing:
- Sierra Tasi Baker (Squamish Nation Member)
- Kirby Brown
- Norman Laube
- Christine Baker (Squamish Nation Member)
- Sarah Silva (Squamish Nation Member)
- Dave Baspaly
- Lilian Chau
For years, the Squamish Nation had lagged behind on building housing options for the Squamish People and addressing the housing crisis for our community. New housing has been built at a slow rate do to a lack of enforceable policies and procedures and lack of access to funding &
loans to financing new the construction of new housing.
Currently, 53% of Squamish Nation members are living off-reserve and often paying high market rents that make life unaffordable. The objective of Hiy̓ám̓ Housing is to provide different types of housing options, including affordable rentals tied to household income.
The Board of Directors will be responsible for approving policies, development plans, business plans, as well as hiring of a CEO to lead this work for Hiy̓ám̓ Housing. The organization will apply for new Provincial and Federal funding to support the development of new housing.
In September 2019, the Squamish Nation Council requested a staff report on six potential sites to transfer to Hiy̓ám̓ Housing in North Vancouver and the Squamish Valley. The report will come back in January 2020 and include next steps to support the develop of housing in our communities.
The development of Hiy̓ám̓ Housing will not impact or be involved in the annual allocation of 15 single detached houses from the Housing List as per the Housing Policy. It is intended as a new initiative, separate from the existing program.