In November 2018, Musqueam received funding approval from BC Housing’s Indigenous Housing Fund for a multi-family housing project on the main Musqueam Reserve (IR #2), specifically for Musqueam members and their families.
This funding is a unique and important opportunity to build new housing for members, which helps fulfill Musqueam’s Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) Objective #2 of addressing our housing needs, which includes Actions 4) Build Member Housing and 5) Build Higher Density Housing.
The Musqueam Community Rental Complex (MCRC) at Lot 95, Crown Place will be owned, designed and operated by Musqueam. It will provide affordable rental units for Musqueam members and their families. Additionally, the complex will have a childcare centre, playground and new community spaces.
This development is an historic opportunity to help ease overcrowding, welcome home Musqueam members living away from home and continue our Musqueam cultural teachings and traditions in our community.
- Musqueam Capital Corp. (project management)
- Musqueam Administration (community input and engagement)
- Aquilini Development (design & construction)
- Urban Arts Architecture (architects)
- Musqueam Land Code Committee (reviews & provides recommendation)
- Chief & Council (final review & approval)
Management and operations
The Musqueam Housing Authority is a not-for-profit society that will be responsible for creating the MCRC’s policies and procedures. These policies will be unique to Musqueam, and aligned with the Musqueam Land Code and BC Housing standards.
Currently, a third-party property manager is proposed for on-site management. This company would support day-to-day operations and ensure that the policies and procedures are being followed so that all members feel safe, welcome and secure.
To be an MCRC tenant, at least one member of the household must be a Musqueam member. Eligibility will be based on BC Housing’s income limits, and rent will be based on 30% of gross household income. Units will be assigned by household size.
Applications are separate from the housing priority list. Members can apply for both lists.
Example of a Musqueam family renting at the MCRC
Family of four: 2 parents and 2 children
Occupations: Full-time Cook & Part-time Cashier
Monthly Income: $3,750
Monthly Rent: $1,125
Demand for on-reserve housing is only increasing as Musqueam’s population continues to grow, and there is a need for all types of housing for different family sizes and stages in life.
In late summer 2020, the project team presented three design ideas to membership and asked for input through a community survey. After reviewing the feedback, the team recommended, and Musqueam Council approved, the site option with the lowest density and includes three detached buildings with 46 rental units and a childcare facility.
36 rental units
- 12 x three-bedroom units
- 11 x two-bedroom units
- 10 x one-bedroom units
- 3 x accessible one-bedroom units
- Amenity room for all Musqueam members
- Outdoor plaza
10 rental units
- 10 townhomes with three bedrooms
- Each townhome also has a secondary, lock-off suite on the bottom floor
The daycare will accommodate up to 28 children, including infant, toddler and preschool aged children. The building will have two separate but connected outdoor playgrounds.
Why multi-family housing?
Community discussions about multi-family housing have been ongoing for decades. But Musqueam currently occupies only 0.2% of our traditional territory, and there is very limited available land on reserve that is suitable for housing development.
Members have continually called for a greater mix of housing types, including:
- Multi-family and apartments
- Low-income, and other innovative approaches
- Infill housing
We know that there is a need for a mix of housing in Musqueam to support different family sizes and life transitions, including:
- Elders who want to downsize
- Families with an Elder they are caring for
- Families with adult children attending university
- Young couples starting a family
- Singles who are starting their careers or are in school
As of 2016, 52% of Musqueam members were under the age of 30. The demand for housing will only increase as our youthful population continues to grow. About 30% of Musqueam households experience overcrowding, and about 9% of on-reserve members live in homes where there are four to seven more people than bedrooms in the home.
The lack of affordable housing in Metro Vancouver also contributes to the critical housing shortage facing Musqueam and its members. In Canada, Vancouver is the most expensive city to rent in.
52% of Musqueam member households have an annual income of $60,000 or less. The average price for a 1-bedroom in Metro Vancouver is $1,700, for a 2-bedroom it is $2,300 and a 3-bedroom is $2,800.
In short, we want to provide affordable housing options for as many of our members as possible. A mix of housing (multi-family housing) will make best use of the limited land available, is less expensive to build and service, and meets a greater range of our members’ housing needs.