Nunavut to build 220 new social housing units this year and next

Nunavut Housing Corp. using federal money announced in 2016

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

A tenplex social housing building under construction in Iqaluit about 10 years ago. The Nunavut Housing Corp. plans to build 220 new units across the territory this year and next. (FILE PHOTO)


A tenplex social housing building under construction in Iqaluit about 10 years ago. The Nunavut Housing Corp. plans to build 220 new units across the territory this year and next. (FILE PHOTO)

Using a combination of money they received from the federal government in 2016, plus money from the Government of Nunavut, the Nunavut Housing Corp. will build 220 badly-needed new social housing units this year and next, Lorne Kusugak, the minister responsible for the corporation, announced earlier this week.

”It is no secret that our territory is facing a severe housing crisis that has negative impacts on the well-being of our people,” Kusugak said March 13.

Kusugak said 185 of the new units will be built in 15 communities with the help of $76.7 million that the federal government released in 2016.

The contracts to build 90 of those units have already been completed and construction on them has started and is on schedule, he said.

For the remaining 95 units, the housing corporation will issue tenders by the end of this month, Kusugak said.

On top of that, Kusugak said the corporation will use GN money—$17.5 million—to build 35 more units in seven communities.

He said the tenders for those projects will go out at the same time as tenders for the 95 remaining federally-funded units.

Not counting the federal money, the housing corporation’s capital budget for 2018-19 will use $40.3 million from the GN plus $5.74 million from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., for a total of about $46 million.

The $17.5 million is included in that amount. The housing corporation will spend the most of the remainder on retrofits and repairs on housing units and local housing organization warehouses in numerous communities, budget documents state.

They’ll also spend $5 million to construct 23 new staff housing units across the territory.

As for the $76.7 million in federal money, which comes from a pot of federal cash called the “Social Infrastructure Fund,” the housing corporation plans to spend $46.7 million in 2018-19, though those amounts were allocated in previous years’ budgets.

Kusugak did not list which communities will get new housing units, but he said the allocations have been done according to a needs-based formula it’s used since 2013.

“This methodology, developed in 2013, calculates a community’s relative housing need using its public housing wait-list as a proportion of public housing stock in the community,” Kusugak said.

He also said the GN will continue to lobby Ottawa for more money to construct social housing.

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