Fall call for proposals still open for Indigenous Shelter and Transitional Housing Initiative
November 1, 2022
The Indigenous Shelter and Transitional Housing Initiative (ISTHI) is an exciting opportunity for organizations serving Indigenous clientele in the prairie provinces. The funding program provides access to capital and operational funding to build and run shelters and transitional homes for their communities. This funding opportunity also presents an excellent opportunity for collaboration and partnership between non-Indigenous and Indigenous housing and service delivery organizations, as well as Indigenous governments.
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Strong female leaders in housing empowering people to change
October 13, 2022
Housing is an industry where women have been historically underrepresented, but a transformation is underway. We spoke to the leaders at three community-minded organizations we’re working with about the prominent roles women are now holding in the industry, and what that means for the communities they serve.
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Breathing life into the Home Fire: Indigenous engagement in a rapid housing project
September 28, 2022
Architect David Fortin says translating Indigenous thinking and knowledge into contemporary architectural form is still a relatively new conversation, so when designing for an Indigenous client, he and his team put a lot of emphasis on engagement. The latest project that David is working on with Big Block is the Silver Sage Housing Corporation’s Home Fire building in North Regina. Home Fire will be a transitional place for people in need of immediate housing, and it’s part of the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) in order to get those people the housing they need as quickly as possible.
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Elders’ Lodge features culturally-relevant garden to help improve food security
September 16, 2022
This summer, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. President Shirley Isbister has been enjoying healthy snacks from the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge garden. The community garden at the Lodge is central to the extraordinary shared courtyard and acts as the heart of the building, with the south-facing apartment balconies and indoor community space looking out over it. The garden, along with many other features of the building, were incorporated into the design thanks to early consultations with Elders from the community — a step in the development process that Big Block has found to be crucial to creating purpose-built spaces that will serve communities for generations to come.
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New opportunity for organizations to access Rapid Housing Initiative funding
May 19, 2022
Canada is facing a housing crisis and one of the ways the Government of Canada is tackling the problem is through the CMHC Rapid Housing Initiative. In November 2022, the third round of funding was released and the government is looking for new applications to build new housing and/or purchase existing buildings that will be rehabilitated or converted into permanent affordable housing. 
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Federal budget a win for affordable housing
April 25, 2022
Solving the housing affordability crisis is our guiding star. A big contributing factor to the erosion of affordability is a serious lack of supply. We want to be part of the solution, so our goal is to build 1,000 affordable housing units in Canada each year by 2025.That’s why we were so excited to hear about all the measures the federal government is taking to tackle the affordable housing crisis in Canada with its latest budget. 
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MLI Select: A multi-unit mortgage loan insurance product for companies that care
March 29, 2022
A new CMHC financing program provides generous mortgage loan insurance incentives for energy-efficient multi-unit housing. Based on a points system, the best terms are unlocked at 100 points, and Big Block can help our clients achieve that on new construction through energy efficiency alone.
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Beyond aesthetics: How the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge incorporates Métis traditions
February 2, 2022
When architect David Fortin began envisioning the design for the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge, he knew it had to go beyond simple aesthetics. When he was looking at the traditional homes the Métis were building in Batoche and elsewhere in Saskatchewan, he also looked at how they inhabited those homes, he said. 
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Reviving the Round Prairie history through community and culture
January 13, 2022
For the Métis people, the New Year’s Day celebration is a special one. Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. President Shirley Isbister says in days gone by, her family would go house to house, visiting family and eating boulettes — meatball soup. All day, they’d visit with relatives, eating boulettes along the way, and then in the evenings they’d gather again for a meal and the adults would jig and dance all night. While some of these traditions have fallen by the wayside, Shirley says she still makes boulettes every year for her family, and her goal with the newly opened Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge is to revive some of these traditions.
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Layers of funding: How non-profit org CUMFI provides rentals 30% below market rates
December 13, 2021
The rent at the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI) Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge is 30 per cent below market for some of the suites — a feat that was only possible thanks to support from an astounding six funding sources. Because so much funding was secured, the rent is very affordable, and the energy-efficient design will also help Elders save money on utility costs. “It was a tough goal but we knew with the different funding partners that it was possible,” said Shaun Dyck, CUMFI director of housing.
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