Nunavut Post

Saturday, September 30, 2023

M.P.s hear about the effects of the northern housing shortage


Key takeaways: 

  • N.W.T. housing minister makes a case for more grants and more adaptable ways to access them.
  • A shack where a young household in Igloolik, Nunavut, lived in 2016 when a Senate committee toured the place to check housing states. 
  • They described them as “inadequate and perilous.” 

The continued shortage of accessible, inexpensive, high-quality housing in northern Canada is no shock to the people here. 

Now, the federal government’s Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAN) is studying the outcomes of this housing shortage on Indigenous people.

On Tuesday, the N.W.T.’s minister liable for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and homelessness, Paulie Chinna, was one of the viewers. She spoke to the committee regarding the condition of the housing shortage in the N.W.T., its extreme effect on Indigenous people, and what the federal government could do to help. 

“I see the results of the housing shortage on Indigenous people in the North every day — whether this is looking at the long waiting list for public accommodation in most small neighborhoods or meeting under-housed people on the roads of Yellowknife,” stated Chinna. 

Also read: Investigation finds ‘dynamic rollover’ induced lethal chopper crash in Nunavut

After Nunavut, she said the region’s reliance on public housing is the second-greatest of any Canadian jurisdiction

Chinna told the committee that the N.W.T. meets several challenges regarding public housing.

There are restrictions on the building season due to the short seasonal window for building and shipping supplies and additional costs that come with the “remoteness of neighborhoods, extreme climate conditions, and limited dependable transportation infrastructure” in the North.

After Nunavut, she said the region’s reliance on public housing is the second-greatest of any Canadian jurisdiction.

Chinna told the committee that 2,600 public housing departments spread through the N.W.T.’s 33 neighborhoods, but most are decades aging. Some suffer from environmental harm, like erosion and mold. Many are also packed, which has been a problem with COVID-19.

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