September - 15, 2010
As a Housing Department, we receive numerous requests for inspections and renovations. The TIB Housing Department is committed to developing fair and equitable processes for all TIB Band Members and have committed to allocating funds based on the need for health and safety of its members living within the homes and extending the life of the homes.
Except for Elder renovations, renovations are not funded entirely by the Band. In fact, the majority of the funds come from other funding pots that are mostly sponsored either by the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Most funding pots for renovations either require a contribution from the Band (between 25-33% of the costs usually) or a Ministerial Loan Guarantee to be supported by the Band through a Band Council Resolution—meaning, the Band supports a homeowner taking the initiative to pay for their own renovation under a loan similar to new house construction. Also, the funds used to support these proposals are typically taken from the Housing Departments Emergency Repairs & Maintenance budget, which must be used to fund all emergency repairs and replacements.
The Band prioritizes the need for renovations based on the following factors: (1) health and safety and (2) the expected life of the home without receiving a renovation. Thus, the homeowner’s health and safety is prioritized above all other housing needs. After that, those renovations that support extending the life of a house will be the next priority. Interior aesthetic renovations and appliance replacements come last. In addition, the Band will not support luxury items such as air conditioning units or dishwashers (or their installation) unless they are funded by a federal funding pot, which they are not at this time.
How the TIB Housing Department typically decides to prioritize renovations is done through inspection reports, which are evaluated by the TIB Housing Department and provided to INAC or CMHC in the funding approval process. INAC and CMHC typically also require a Band Council Resolution supporting the renovations, which is the last stage in the funding process.
Where the Band cannot receive funding for appliances, interior aesthetic items (tile flooring) or outdoor aesthetic items (decks and patio stairs) from CMHC or INAC, these are typically funded through replacement reserves, which are only available for CMHC homes and only those that have not been paid off and where the funds are available once the homes have been paid off. If there are funds remaining in a particular phase, these funds must be spent and must be spent on the homes being paid-off, meaning that some homeowners whose homes are being paid off will receive renovations even if other homes need the renovations more than others, as the phase-off is specific only to the phase of the homes being paid off. Again, we must emphasize that these kinds of renovations are contingent on the funds being available after a phase is paid off by the Band.
Due to high turnover in the Housing Department over the years, we are currently backlogged on a number of home renovation requests. However, we are proceeding with renovations according to the above-mentioned priorities and will continue with inspections and prioritizing renovations based on need above all else into the future. And with a fairly new Housing Department staff, including a new Renovations Coordinator and Housing Coordinator, we expect to refine our policies and procedures to make the renovation process as fair and equitable as possible for all Band Members. Our goal is to increase the number of renovations we do each year through accessing as wide array of funding pots as possible for each renovation and to guarantee a high quality of work for all homes, which requires strict adherence to our policies and procedures.
If you have any further questions or comments, you may contact our Renovations Coordinator, Sharla Paul, at (250) 828-9791.