TROIS-RIVIERES, QUE. – The governments of Canada and Quebec officially opened the Waska Witcihitowin community living environment in Trois-Rivieres earlier this month.
The nearly $37-million project led by the Société immobilière du Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (SIRCAAQ) is intended for Indigenous students and their families and was conceived for and by Indigenous people, a release said.
The Waska Witcihitowin community features 42 affordable housing units, including a child care centre, a junior kindergarten classroom, collaborative workspaces, shared kitchens, outdoor areas for cultural activities and the offices of the Centre d’amitié autochtone de Trois-Rivières.
The concept enables Indigenous people pursuing post-secondary education or adult training to “flourish alongside their families, ensuring a better chance of academic success,” the release added, and the first tenants moved in throughout September 2023.
The federal government put over $14.6 million to the project including $2.6 million from Indigenous Services Canada and $12 million through the first Canada-Quebec Rapid Housing Initiative Agreement. The province of Quebec invested over $22 million including $11.1 million from the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, $5.2 million from the Société d’habitation du Québec (SHQ) and $3.1 million from the Secrétariat aux relations avec les Premières Nations et les Inuit. The SHQ is also securing SIRCAAQ’s mortgage loan.
The City of Trois-Rivières is granting the housing complex a 20-year tax exemption. Trois-Rivières is also providing a financial contribution of nearly $600,000, delivered through the tripartite agreements that the city signed with the SHQ and the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation, the release said.