Habitat for Humanity and Native Montreal are teaming up to construct a new building in Saint-Henri that will house two Indigenous families.

“The families that have Indigenous members, part of them, will be prioritized between all other applicants for this kind of housing,” said Philippe Meilleur, executive director for Native Montreal.

The duplex will be built by volunteers on a greenspace on Bourassa St. purchased by Habitat for Humanity.

“Originally the land was owned by the City of Montreal and we sold it to Habitat for Humanity for a really good price,” said Southwest Borough Mayor Benoit Dorais.

Volunteers from every walk of life are donating their time to the project, said Jean-Maurice Forget, head of board of Habitat for Humanity Quebec.

“We bring volunteers in groups of eight or 10, so there will probably be 150 to 200 volunteers that will contribute to this house,” he said.

On top of time, much is donated by companies and individuals.

“We have a lot of sponsors on the material, the windows, the kitchen cabinets,” said Forget.

For Native Montreal, the goal is to secure better housing for indigenous people.

“Habitat's model is ideal for that. They can own their own place. That's something that's often very rare for Indigenous people in Montreal,” said Meilleur.

The duplex ‘s location is ideal too – near the Native Montreal centre in the Southwest borough.

Land there, said Meilleur, is hard to come by.

“This was an available spot. The reality in Montreal is these are very far and beyond. It’s very, very rare,” he said.

The hope is more housing projects will be announced in the future.

This one is set to be completed in 18 months.