Asooahum Crossing housing project moves forward

  • Aug. 31, 2016 2:53 p.m.

Red Deer Native Friendship Society (RDNFS) announced the Asooahum Crossing cultural housing development is back on track and should be completed by January.

The first phase of Asooahum Crossing is designed to provide 16 units of affordable housing in two eightplex units. Following that completion, 16 more units will be a part of the phase two tower unit and an Indigenous Community Centre with support services.

RDNFS Executive Director Lianne Hazell said she’s thrilled to have the project back on schedule and that RDNFS is currently accepting applications for residency, with forms available at the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre.

“It’s very exciting to be back at work on this project. There was a bit of a lull while we waited for some of the funding to come through. That’s happened, the project is back on track and we’re so excited to be able to hopefully welcome families in for January 2017,” Hazell said.

The total price for phase one of the project is $5.6 million. The City of Red Deer provided land and capital funding made available through the Municipal Sustainable Housing and Capital Enhancement Program to the tune of $3 million. As well, the provincial government contributed $2.6 million through capital funding and the Eastview Rotary Club has also made contributions to the project.

“Seeing all the different pieces of the community come together really shows us this is a valuable project we are undertaking,” Hazell said. “We have multiple levels of government that have come in on this project in some way, and have said to us, ‘We know the community needs this and (the RDNFS) is the right group of people to take this project on.’

“We’re starting the process of intakes and applications for people to move into Asooahum Housing and that is taking our excitement even further,” she added.

Hazell said those wishing to apply for the housing need to head to the Friendship Centre for an application form and conversation about their needs and community vision.

“When people come in right now, we’re having an initial conversation with them. We’re really focusing on families, but will have spots for elders and other individuals who will come for purpose. When I say ‘for purpose’, I mean people who want to come together as part of this community and support each other in a cultural way,” she explained. “People will come down and apply and we will have a conversation about how they view the housing project and how they think they will fit into the Asooahum Crossing. It’s a very cultural space, and people who come to live here will work together closely to build community throughout the space.”

Fundraising for the development of the Asooahum Community Centre will begin soon.

“It will be a community it its purest sense,” Hazell said. “There is such a diverse group of people coming together – individuals, elders, families – to build that true community. It’ll be beautiful.”