‘I feel very honoured’: Metis citizen part of first time home buyers program

Dominic Bourgeois is celebrating a purchase many young adults dream of.

The 29-year-old is the first Metis citizen to buy a home under the Manitoba Metis Federation’s (MMF) new program launched earlier this year.

It’s called the first time home buyers program and it aims to do just that.

“I feel very honoured when I got the call. It was a whole lot of water works,” Bourgeois said during a ceremony celebrating the purchase on Monday.

“There was a little emotional breakdown at work.”

The program helps citizens with down payments, closing costs and legal fees associated with purchasing a home, says Will Goodon, the MMF’s housing minister.

“A lot of our people have the ability to make that mortgage payment because they’re making their rent payment but they were just not quite there to get that down payment and that’s what this is for,” said Goodon.

According to Goodon, the Federation has already approved more than 100 applications. He expects to see another 300 citizens will be provided assistance over the next year.

(Bourgeois at the ceremony with the MMF. Photo: Brittany Hobson/APTN)

The program was established as a result of a promise made to Louis Riel in 1870.

The Manitoba Act promised, “a portion of such ungranted lands, to the extent of one million four hundred thousand acres.”

This promise was broken and left unfulfilled for generations.

Goodon says the act of home ownership “symbolizes” the head start that was promised to the Metis people years ago.

For Bourgeois, the program has given her a chance to purchase something outside of her budget. She says she was originally approved for a mortgage but it limited the area she could purchase a home and in some cases the type of home she could purchase.

“My boyfriend and I we like spending time outside, having a yard, having neighbours…that was really important to us,” she said.

Right now the program only applies to first time home buyers but David Chartrand, president of the MMF, says in the future he hopes to expand the program to include families who have outgrown their current homes.

“There’s not a doubt we’ll probably be venturing beyond the first time home buyer. We’ll be venturing into that field because we want to have as many of our citizens owning homes.”

Reporter / Winnipeg

Brittany joined the APTN news team in October 2016. She is Ojibway and a member of the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba. Before coming to APTN, she graduated with a joint degree in communications from the University of Winnipeg and Red River College.