THUNDER BAY — The CMHC Youth Internship Program is funding programming that provides training and learning opportunities for Indigenous youth that could lead to employment while moving the tiny home project forward.
The Lakehead Social Planning Council, which has coordinated the Tiny Homes Thunder Bay Committee since its inception in 2018, is managing the CMHC funding that is supporting the Indigenous youth in the Kendomang Zhagodenamnon Lodge (KZ Lodge) North Program at Hammarskjold High School as they participate in the project.
"We are very proud of our grade 11-12 students in the KZ Lodge program participating in the tiny home pilot project,” said Hammarskjold principal Derek Di Blasio.
“We have two goals of this project. The first one is to develop hands-on skills/certifications that enable the students to get exposure to work opportunities in the skilled trades. Our second goal is to help tackle the need for housing solutions in Thunder Bay."
Matawa First Nations Management, a partner in the Tiny Homes Thunder Bay Committee, said they want to pursue strategies that address Indigenous homelessness in Thunder Bay, youth employment and replicating a tiny home project in their First Nations.
Matawa First Nations Management CEO David Paul Achneepineskum said that Matawa has been watching the tiny house build from the beginning and that the organization is very proud of the work of the KZ Lodge North students.
“We encourage other Indigenous students to consider the trades as a viable educational direction,” he said. “Meegwetch also to our partners on the Thunder Bay Tiny Homes Committee and the funders that have provided their support to make this project a success.”
Smart Modular Canada provided onsite training and guidance throughout the whole building process and before training began, students had the opportunity to tour the new 76,000-square-foot facility to get a thorough understanding of the building process from beginning to end.
“Our new facility gives us a leg up and opens more opportunities to get us as close to our clients as possible,” said Bill Boulton, Smart Modular Canada. “And at the same time, it allows us to take part in more initiatives where we can provide in-depth guidance to Indigenous youth.”