Three elders will soon move into Asooahum Crossing in Red Deer.
Marilyn Goodswimmer, Asooahum Housing support worker, said utilities were recently installed in the second building where the new residents will live starting in February.
There are two buildings with eight suites in each with rents lower than the market price. Four residents currently live in the buildings, which means there are nine empty units of the available 16 units.
Although there are units sitting empty, Goodswimmer is not concerned. Goodswimmer said the process for people to move in may be slow but it ensures suitable candidates become tenants.
“Asooahum is a place of sobriety and community and we have a screening process to ensure that we’re housing the right people,” she said.
“It’s a sober living space for anybody who wants to follow the Aboriginal culture,” she said.
The Red Deer Native Friendship Society will start a social media campaign in 2018 to get the word out about the cultural housing units. They will target reserves and organizations used by Indigenous people.
The first tenants moved in around June 2017. An official opening of the housing units was held in late October.
The facility on Riverside Drive provides a safe and cultural living space to Indigenous elders, youth and families looking for affordable housing.
The application process includes a criminal record check, stable income, references and is open to Indigenous populations. The units include two-bedroom accessible units and two bedrooms plus loft and two bedrooms plus a den.
The second phase of the project consists of office space and community centre for weddings, gatherings and funerals. The second phase is expected to be completed in 2020.
Dwight Mandrusiak, president of the Red Deer Native Friendship Society, said fundraising efforts for the second phase of the project will resume later this month when the board meets.