Eel River Bar Housing Committee Takes a Fresh and Open Approach to Housing

Eel River Bar First Nation is a Mi’kmaw community on the northern coast of New Brunswick of which a little over 300 people live on-reserve, about an hour’s drive northwest of Bathurst. A few years ago, the Band decided it needed a dedicated group of people who could explore the various housing issues Eel River Bar was facing, and make recommendations on those issues to the Chief and other Band councillors.

Championed by Councillor-elect Jody Simonson, this idea became a reality in 2012, when Eel River Bar formed its first official Housing Committee. Composed of both staff from the Band administration and members of the community, one of the Committee’s primary goals is to find a way to allocate its annual housing stock in a manner that is standardized, fair—and completely open.

“The idea of a housing committee first came up in 2008, so we already had a band council resolution (BCR) and terms of reference drafted and ready to go,” explains Mario LaPointe, the Band’s Capital and Housing Manager.

“The Chief and Council wanted to separate themselves in order to create a non-political process that our membership could rely on for our long-term future growth. The next step was to update and sign the BCR to officially create the Committee, and then select the people who would become our first Committee members.”

Working closely with Chief Thomas Everet ...

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