By Brian Williams
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Construction began around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, and by 3 p.m.
Sunday afternoon, a new home is expected to be completed for a family from Oneida Nation of the Thames.
Imagine Build is an organization working alongside Oneida Nation of the Thames to build more houses in a community experiencing a housing crisis.
“A common problem on Oneida, like many **>First Nations<**, is housing,” said Jade Doxtator, both an Imagine Build committee member and an Oneida community member. “We’re a community, a very small community, but we have over 60 families currently on a waiting list for housing,” he added.
The 120 square metre (1,300 square feet) home that is expected to be complete in a three-day blitz, is being spearheaded by Doug Tarry Homes.
Owner, Doug Tarry, thought undertaking the task of building a home in three days was important in bringing attention to the housing crisis being faced by the Oneida Nation of the Thames community.
“This is an opportunity to shine a light on the housing crisis that’s happening in First Nations communities,” he said.
The project will see 400 plus volunteers during three days contribute to making the house a reality for a family in need.
Chief Todd Cornelius, of Oneida Nation of the Thames, said teamwork can bring about positive results.
“Imagine if we could go a little further. I’d like to put that out there. Just imagine how much we can do, if we all come together,” Cornelius said.
Oneida Nation of the Thames and Imagine Build came together and surpassed their initial goal of one home.
What began as a target to build one family home after raising approximately $300,000, became four, once donations and fundraising ballooned to more than $900,000 in the last two years, Doxtator said.
With two houses already built, the home currently under construction will be the third of the four-house goal.
The next home in the campaign won’t be a three-day blitz like the one currently under construction, but it will tie in more members from the Oneida Nation of the Thames community, Doxtator said.
“After this home, we’re taking on the fourth home which is going to be more of a community-led project,” Doxtator said.
Tarry will “lead the charge” building the next home, Doxtator said, but the youth of Oneida Nation of the Thames also will get an opportunity to learn more about trades.
Doxtator said the hope is the community will be home to more construction and trades people, and that will translate to more homes built in the community by Oneida Nation of the Thames community members.
Tarry also said providing education and support would be beneficial in terms of community involvement in the next construction project.
“The next part of it is to create that training program so that, hopefully, it can continue. We want it to be more sustainable within the community. And that means educating the kids in the community, folks that are interested in how to build better,” Tarry said.
“And then, hopefully, they can help other First Nations communities as well,” he said.
The final home in the campaign doesn’t have a timeframe, but Oneida Nation of the Thames and Imagine Build are working together with the hope of building more homes in the community.
Brian Williams/ Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/LONDON FREE PRESS/LJI is a federally funded program