Nunavummiut live in overcrowded, poor housing, survey confirms

“The findings of the survey reveal that Nunavut is indeed facing an acute housing crisis”


About one in two homes in Nunavut are below standard, overcrowded and in need of repairs, says the Nunavut Household Needs Survey, which was released Oct. 29 in the Nunavut legislature.

“The findings of the survey reveal that Nunavut is indeed facing an acute housing crisis,” said housing minister Tagak Curley. “The survey provides sold data that will help us work towards providing a safe and secure home for everyone.”

The survey shows that if you’re a government worker, with a post-secondary education, and you live in a staff unit in Iqaluit, your housing likely meets acceptable standards.

But the survey’s results reveal that Inuit with less education who live in social housing units — no matter where — have the poorest housing of all.

In Nunavut there are 4,230 dwellings that don’t meet housing standards.

The survey, which looked at more than 8,500 dwellings, found the worst housing problems in Hall Beach and Repulse Bay, where three of every four of households live in below-standard dwellings.

Overall, and particularly outside the larger communities of Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, many dwellings are overcrowded and in need of major repairs.

And many Nunavummiut are eager to move into better accommodations.

If more housing were made available to people who live in those sub-standard dwellings, more than 3,500 of them would move out.

The survey also found that 1,220 Nunavummiut or four per cent of the territory’s population are “homeless,” with no place to call their own.

Some 2,730 households opened their homes to let what the survey calls “temporary residents” stay with them during the year preceding the survey.

The communities showing the highest proportion of “temporary residents” include Whale Cove, Resolute Bay and Pond Inlet.

The survey also found that:

• social housing has highest proportion of below-standard dwellings — more than six in 10 — and is 97-per cent occupied by Inuit;

• people with less formal education tend to live in social housing.;

• more than three in 10 Nunavut homes are overcrowded — with the worst conditions in Repulse Bay and Gjoa Haven where nearly six in 10 dwellings are overcrowded;

• one in 10 overcrowded dwellings has three-or-more-bedroom shortfall;

• about half of people who live in crowded dwellings say the living room is used for sleeping, with some saying other rooms, such as kitchen, dining room, or hallways, are used for sleeping;

• crowding is nearly twice as bad in social housing than in owner-occupied housing;

• two in three social housing units are either crowded and/or in need of major repair;

The Nunavut Housing Needs Survey surveyed households in 25 Nunavut communities from November 2009 to June 2010 to collect data to help the Government of Nunavut plan and provide housing.

The 25 communities surveyed contained 9,400 dwellings, of which 8,550 were occupied.

Most of the housing, 4,400 units, is social housing, which made up slightly more than one-half of the occupied dwellings.

The balance includes 1,880 owner-occupied dwellings, 1,350 government-staff housing, 350 non-government-staff housing and 340 private market rentals.

NHNS Report

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