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The Metis First Time Home Purchase Program will provide up to $15,000 for a down payment to roughly 400 families this year, according to the MMF. (Sheryl Nadler/CBC) A new program from the Manitoba Metis Federation is aiming to give some families a head start on home ownership.

The Metis First Time Home Purchase Program will roll out this spring and provide up to $15,000 for down payments to roughly 400 ​Métis families this year, the federation said in a news release Friday.

"The Métis were promised land. Instead, our ancestors were dispossessed of their land," said MMF president David Chartrand in the written release.

"We are righting that wrong and giving our citizens an opportunity at home ownership in the province that the Manitoba Métis created."

The federation says the program will give Métis families the "head start" that was originally promised in the 1870 Manitoba Act. Liberal MP Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface-Saint Vital) said the program will help Manitoba’s economy as well as Métis families. (Radio-Canada) The act promised to set aside about 5,600 square kilometres of land for 7,000 children of the Red River Métis. But it took 15 years and the federal government ultimately distributed the land through a random lottery, ending the dream of a Métis homeland.

"We know how important home ownership [is] to get a … head start in life, build equity," said Saint Boniface-Saint Vital member of Parliament Dan Vandal, who attended the announcement Friday.

"It’s difficult for young people. It’s even more difficult for young Métis people, young Indigenous people, to find that down payment." Program will ‘reduce a lot of stress’

Darcy Fleury, a 34-year-old father of three who lives in Brandon, says he plans to apply for the program.

"This process is going to make it a lot easier for us," he said. "Just trying to get that initial down payment saved up and everything, it’s hard to do that, especially with a family and three kids."

Vandal said he expects the program to benefit Manitoba’s economy as well as Métis families. Brandon, Man., dad Darcy Fleury plans to apply for the program and says it will reduce stress. (Radio-Canada) In its first year, it will pay out an estimated $80 million for mortgages, the federation said in its release, in addition to $9 million for closing costs and maintenance. Each family can get up to $2,500 for closing costs.

Chartrand said in the release the program is expected to grow after its first year.

"This is going to help reduce a lot of stress," Fleury said of the program.

"Hopefully it all goes through and gets approved and I can start looking for a house."

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