Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik July 05, 2018 - 8:30 am

Nunavik organizations finally sign on to new, five-year housing agreement

But funding not enough to bring relief to the backlog, leaders say

A new five-year housing agreement provides for $25 million a year from the federal government towards the construction of social housing throughout Nunavik, while the province covers the operating and maintenance costs. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
A new five-year housing agreement provides for $25 million a year from the federal government towards the construction of social housing throughout Nunavik, while the province covers the operating and maintenance costs. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

A new social housing agreement brings some relief to Nunavik’s demand for more accommodation, the region’s leaders say.

After years of negotiation, Nunavik leaders signed a new five-year tripartite housing agreement with the Quebec and federal governments in late May.

The new agreement, which runs from now until 2022, provides for $25 million a year from the federal government towards the construction of social housing throughout the region, while the province covers the operating and maintenance costs.

The contributions are adjusted for inflation and population increases each year between now and 2022.

“Under this agreement, we’re able to build between 65 and 75 houses a year, depending on the number of bedrooms,” said Joë Lance, a Makivik Corp. representative who sits on the negotiation committee.

“[But] this barely makes up for the increase in the number of families and demand for housing in the region.”

Nunavik’s most recent housing survey shows the region needs another 813 units to accommodate its growing population, which is estimated to increase by about 110 families every year.

Additional government funding is crucial for the region to try and keep up with its housing needs, Lance said—like the $50 million the federal government allotted for Nunavik housing in its 2016 budget.

In 2019, for example, Nunavik will build 134 new units in seven different communities, thanks to $25 million in federal funds that’s in addition to the tripartite agreement.

Similarly, Ottawa’s 2018 budget included a $400-million Inuit-specific housing plan for Nunavik, Nunatsiavut and the Inuvialuit regions, though Lance said the parties are still in discussion over how much of that will reach Nunavik and when.

The new housing agreement brings some stability to the region and allows Makivik Corp.—which manages the federal contribution and oversees construction through its non-profit division—to plan ahead and order materials by sealift.

The agreement also provides for the function of the Kativik Region Housing Committee, which includes representatives from both levels of government, as well as the Kativik Regional Government, Makivik and the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau.

Its role is to advise and assist parties in implementing the agreement, ensure that housing constructed by Makivik is good quality, and promote construction jobs and skills training among Inuit.

The housing committee will evaluate the agreement by Dec. 31, 2020, and make recommendations on a new one, with the hope of renewing the agreement by September 2021.

Although Nunavik has had a long-term, tripartite agreement for housing in place since 2000, negotiations for the renewal of that agreement have been strained in recent years.

Unable to reach a new five-year agreement since its 2010-15 agreement expired, Nunavik had signed on to temporary one-year extensions to buy more negotiating time.

Lance said Nunavik is also in discussions with both levels of government about options for alternatives to the social housing units most Nunavimmiut live in.

For the time being, however, the housing demand and backlog are still too great to put energy into launching new programs.

“For the short term, it’s still social housing we’re focused on,” he said.

Quebec’s 2018 budget also invested $15.9 million into a program to help Nunavimmiut with the purchase and construction of 45 private housing units over a five-year period.

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(9) Comments:

#1. Posted by Blessed Guy on July 05, 2018

Wow! good news. A healthy environment for children to grow up in. We’ve so much to be thankful for. I wonder if Inuit designed houses are being looked into…would be interesting for an Inuk Architect to design an arctic friendly house. Hoping this generation will continue to finish their education to take over…

#2. Posted by Nunavik member on July 05, 2018

It is great to see the results, yet, the house that we lived in are cheaply built, the walls easily gets mold create sickness amongst our children.

During winter season, the walls we get to see is, sparkling like snow flakes, they are very cheap, and the renovated houses, the floors are cold, no insulation below the floors, the house is more hazard to live in, and we are the renters, paying for unhealthy houses that we live in.

Also, the door knobs freezes sometimes during winter, what if?! Fire in the house, and the door cannot open?!

We are tax payers, paying high cost living food, and rent is very high for a cheap materials?! Why are we treated differently?! the Innu, Crees, any Aboriginal are non-tax payers and get good quality housing compare to us the Inuit?!

#3. Posted by Appreciate on July 07, 2018

People really need to absorb the the difficulty of having a house in the north. The north has no materials of which to make that house, and it’s an enormous challenge to get it all together. The cost of a house is phenomenal. Even if renters pay for several life times , it wouldn’t even come close to paying for the cost of that house. Not saying that northern living should be second class, but more emphasis is needed on being thankful, and appreciative. With that in mind, more people could probably have ownership. Plus take care of your house. One thing that always was in my wondering, and that is why are so many people that can afford to own a house, still renting from the government? Why? You see people with the highest incomes renting a house. In Nunavik , the incentive to own a house is a gift. The subsides, it’s not that hard to own, but no way, people just don’t have the motivation, I think that’s it , motivation. Please people think.

#4. Posted by What planet are you in? on July 08, 2018

Sounds like hundred years from now, blessed guy

#5. Posted by Nunavik member on July 10, 2018

#3, why don’t you try out living with a healthy family living in poor molded housing, buy expensive food, when we struggle trying to save money for other bills to consider?!

We may be thankful of having to have a house to live in, but health wise, the house we live in are dangerous to our health, poorly built when winter season arises, the house itself is freezing sometimes, even though, when a furnace heat is on high, furnaces can become dangerous too, when KMHB maintenance are hard to find sometimes, some don’t even go and fix furnace properly, sometimes not even showing up too, often they are ordered to be called.

And we are tired of seeing same old designs that, they build a house, apartments etc. boring boring, some 2 bed room duplexes does not even have spare exit, just one door, they are in need of spare doors in case of fire!

#6. Posted by Don’t blame on July 10, 2018

It’s not the fault of the government or anyone else that people are born and live in a certain place , unless the government forced that on to people which did happened. But for the most part, people made their own decisions to be living in this or that place. Sometimes I think , to live a decent life has expired in northern Canada, with the dependency on the outside regions to support most aspects of life , like housing, and all the other things people elsewhere take for granted. It’s costing too much. In the same breath, I would love to see equality for all Canadians, but that equality must come with everyone playing their part. One thing I don’t understand, is why don’t more northern people build the house, and contribute to the economy that way. The materials can come from , the south, but the construction should be from the north. Why don’t municipalities embrace this opportunity to allow northerns to contribute.

#7. Posted by is no good at all on July 10, 2018

Nakurmiik! Thank you…

Keep up the good work everyone, I applause your hard working souls

#8. Posted by A cabin for a house on July 10, 2018

Just go around Nunavik, and take a look at some of the cabins people have just out from certain communities. Big cabins, bigger than their houses. And some people can’t build a house? Lots of cabin owners are living in government kmhb housing. That’s why when people complain, it means very little. Look at the big trucks, boats ! Snow machines. Can not afford What?

#9. Posted by jugalait inuit on July 11, 2018

even booze and drugs are affordable but house rent?!

kids goes hungry because of the booze & drugs, and ending up with a social worker when being neglected & abandoned by drunky parents…

pay your rents, feed your kids, before drinking & drugging, druggies bumming money from their elders, carving fast for drug or alcohol money, what about house rent payments, buy food for your hungry child, you created your child(ren)

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