Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik March 05, 2018 - 3:29 pm

Nunavik’s housing office launches campaign to prevent evictions

“The KMHB doesn’t want people to be on the streets"

Sonia Gosselin Alaku is the new community relations coordinator for the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau in Kuujjuaq. Her role is to help tenants who aren’t paying their rent to get their accounts sorted out—before they face eviction. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
Sonia Gosselin Alaku is the new community relations coordinator for the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau in Kuujjuaq. Her role is to help tenants who aren’t paying their rent to get their accounts sorted out—before they face eviction. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

KUUJJUAQ—Nunavik’s social housing office will once again hand out eviction notices to non-paying tenants in 2018.

But not before organization has checked in with households who are behind in rent to find out why and what it can do to help.

The Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau faces millions of dollars worth of arrears from unpaid rent.

But its board of directors opted not to send out eviction notices in 2017, to give the organization time to come up with a new approach.

Starting this week, the KHMB’s new community relations coordinator, Sonia Gosselin Alaku, will begin calling and visiting Kuujjuaq tenants who are behind in rent.

Gosselin Alaku will assess the household’s income to determine that their rent is set to the proper rate. With a rent freeze now in effect across Nunavik, tenants may need to produce a notice of assessment to the KMHB to have their rent adjusted.

If tenants are still having trouble making ends meet, the housing bureau offers different payment options, she said.

Given the proper notice and resources, Gosselin Alaku said no one should have to face evictions in 2018.

“The KMHB doesn’t want people to be on the streets,” she said. “We’ll do everything in our power to give them resources.”

Gosselin Alaku is a long-time Nunavik resident and the former housing manager in Salluit.

Over the next few months, she plans to visit each of the 14 communities to check in with social housing tenants.

“Through that process, I’ll be available for anyone, anywhere,” she said.

“We’re in a very good [position] to help our tenants pay their rent and keep their homes.”

The KMHB only started issuing eviction notices in 2010 to tenants who owed more than $10,000 rent.

The first notice tenants would receive comes from Quebec’s Régie de lodgement or rental board, which is usually issued in the spring.

Then the KMHB follows up with a first, second and third notice. The fourth notice is the eviction notice itself, typically issued in the early fall, which gives tenants a five-day warning before the bailiff comes to evict tenants.

Evictions have been controversial across the region. Nunavimmiut have complained that forcing people out of their homes leaves them homeless in a region with a housing shortage.

But Gosselin Alaku said she hears just as much frustration from tenants who do pay rent who would like to see non-payers penalized, or from Nunavimmiut who are on a waiting list for social housing.

The housing office didn’t have an updated tally on unpaid rent across Nunavik in 2017. But its arrears sat at $17.8 million in 2015—the highest the KHMB had seen so far.

Along with its new outreach efforts, the KHMB will also launch a campaign to encourage tenants to pay their monthly rent.

“We’ll offer little tips to help a tenant react and put their account back on track,” said Marie-Christine Vanier, KMHB’s communications officer. “In the end, we want them to be happy in their home.”

Nunavimmut can reach Gosselin Alaku directly at (819) 964-2000 extension 257 or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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(11) Comments:

#1. Posted by single handedly on March 05, 2018

Paying house, telephone, cable, while raising grandkids at the same time, being a single grandparent was the hardest time paying off debts for many years but I finally am debt free only because I was determined to show my growing children, grandkids that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. Stay out of debt, help others if you can help it. But most of all remember that it you who make the choice to be…

#2. Posted by Someone on March 05, 2018

KMHB need to change the way how they calculated our monthly rent! It’s really old formula and it’s not changed from the beginning! They never look how the cost of life change it for everything and everybody, but they using the same formula for make our rents! KMHB need to change that! If someone was having the good job for the past year and he’s notice of assistmant it’s high he gonna pays more for rent, but if this person lost he’s job in the middle of the year, KMHB don’t care and asking the same rent! It’s not fair!
We never complained to Quebec Régie de logement for all of the problems with our houses but KMHB always using Quebec Regie de logement to put us out!
We need new changes in KMHB!

#3. Posted by Idealist on March 06, 2018

If only everyone was open to doing something different, like not spending their money on something that will only make them regret they didn’t pay for their bills, or feeding their children, making sure they had proper clothing, having a roof over their heads.  These are the main things that should always be thought of first but tend to be last because something else is more important.
Go all out to finding solutions so no one has to suffer or worry about where they are going to sleep next and rest without worrying what could happen.

#4. Posted by Marie-Christine Vanier on March 06, 2018

It’s important to correct certain facts from the message #2. In the study made by Université Laval asked by KRG, the cost of living In Nunavik, one conclusion is that - Social housing currently has the effect of an important cost-of-living reduction measure for Nunavimmiut households.-

Second fact, If a tenant stops working, he can bring a letter of his employer with the end of work date and the file will be revised and the rebate will be applied.

Do not hesitate to call KMHB and Sonia Gosselin Alaku, to verify the facts and have more information. We are there for that and be pleased to help you whatever your situation is. Thank you for your collaboration!

#5. Posted by RENTER on March 06, 2018

If person is renting from KMHB, get a hold of employer or person handing out the welfare cheque , take it derict from those people. Piss me off , every month , I pay 640.00 , then I buy my beer. Good luck Sonya , you will not be popular trying to pry money from these deadbeats

#6. Posted by eskimo joe on March 06, 2018

you are lucky nunavik, nunavut rental scale is 25% of the gross income. but still ppl living in public housing should consider themselves lucky, with housing workers at their whim even with a plug toilet. nunavut today is gimme society and it’s getting worst by the day. i owned my own house and cost me about 900/m in winter, i consider myself very very lucky. canada is good country to live in and govern by….i love this nation.

#7. Posted by Colin on March 06, 2018

Why doesn’t Nunavik social housing arrange for direct payment of rent whether from the employer or the welfare office? Not a complete answer but one that should help everyone.

#8. Posted by 25%? on March 06, 2018

Are you really sure about this?  I mean it is low by comparison for many people.  Some families have gross over 200,000$, so that would be like $50,000 rent per year. 

That is like Hollywood address.

#9. Posted by Marie-Christine Vanier on March 06, 2018

Hi Colin,

Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau is already suggesting multiple payment modes like the DAS (deduction at source - from the employer) and sometimes this is a good solution for some. Tenants don’t have to worried about their rent, it’s already taken from their salary.

#10. Posted by someone on March 13, 2018

Hi Marie-Christine,
Thanks for answering!
If I remember we’ll the study from University Laval it’s not was concert the amount of rent. And if I remember we’ll, because I was participated, the questions for the house rents was maybe 2 or 3. Also, it’s not everyone who was participated an this study. Also, how you can prouve that this study it’s was using the good questions to fins the best results?
I find another study from University Laval and in this study they say it’s was strange for them to find so many requests for evacuation made from KMHB to the Regie of logement of Quebec, but they didn’t find no one from Inuit complaining to Regie of logement of Quebec???? That’s mean the KMHB never talk to the Inuit that they have right to make complaints to this Regie.

#11. Posted by someone on March 13, 2018

Hi Marie-Christine,

For our community it’s not true we can just go to see housing and tell him we lost our work!!! It’s happened two times to us and housing always was asking for our notice from taxes and they never do what you talking here, never! No one know that in our community! The KMHB do it many different activity mostly in the more biggest village but in the little one we still know nothing!

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