Asooahum Crossing accepting applications for prospective tenants

An affordable housing project that has been a decade in the making will accept its first tenants in January.

An affordable housing project that has been a decade in the making will accept its first tenants in January.

Red Deer Native Friendship Society is now taking applications from prospective tenants for Asooahum Crossing, currently under construction on a 3.5-acre parcel at 4615 Riverside Drive.

Groundwork is underway and framing will start in September on Phase 1 of the project, which will provide 16 two and three-bedroom units, funded in part by grants and gifts in kind from the City of Red Deer and the Government of Alberta, project director Tanya Schur said on Wednesday.

Although the need had been discussed for a number of years, the project started to move forward in 2010 with assistance from the city, including land and capital funding.

The project has now received the $5.6 million required to complete Phase 1, including $3 million through the City of Red Deer’s Municipal Sustainability Housing and Capital Enhancement Program and $2.6 million in capital funding from the province, along with additional help from the Eastview Rotary Club.

Additional fundraising will soon begin toward construction of a cultural centre to be included with Phase 2 of the project, said Schur. While the city and province will help with the second set of 16 suites, funds must be raised separately for the cultural centre itself, she said.

The first set of 16 suites will consist of two eight-plexes, while the balance will be contained in a tower that will include six market units and an Indigenous Community Centre with support services, said Schur.

“The Asooahum Crossing is a cultural housing development so people that want to practice the culture (will) have opportunities to be involved,” she said.

Geared toward First Nations and Métis people, particularly those moving into the city for the first time, Asooahum Crossing suites are funded as an affordable housing project. Therefore, part of the criteria for people interested in moving in is that they demonstrate a need. The suites are set up for families, but will also be suitable for college students, said Schur.

The cultural centre will be open to anyone who is interested in learning about or practicing First Nations culture.

Schur invites anyone interested in moving in to contact the Friendship Centre, 403-340-0020.

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