GN releases housing strategy aimed at affordable, adequate options
Blueprint names 60 actions to be implemented over next two years
The Government of Nunavut has tabled a new strategy to guide the delivery of “adequate, suitable and affordable housing” for all Nunavummiut.
The minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp., George Kuksuk, tabled the GN’s new Blueprint for Action on Housing, the territory’s response to housing challenges and homelessness in Nunavut, on Oct. 20.
Among its goals: collaborating with regional Inuit associations on developing affordable housing for Inuit on Inuit owned land, including potential public-private partnerships, or P3s.
The strategy also called for the incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit principles in the territory’s housing design.
Those are just some of the blueprint’s 60 actions to be implemented over the next years, the final phase of the GN’s housing strategy launched under Premier Peter Taptuna’s government in 2012.
The action plan was developed by the housing corporation, but divides responsibilities to various government departments, agencies and regional Inuit associations, Kuksuk told the legislative assembly last month.
But the minister didn’t have many other details to share on the plan.
When pressed by MLAs Tony Akoak and Simeon Mikkungwak during question period sessions in October, Kuksuk reiterated that the plan is new and undeveloped.
“This Blueprint for Action on Housing was developed not just by our department, but in conjunction with our stakeholders outside of the government,” Kusuk told the legislature Oct. 27.
“I can inform the member that this blueprint is still being developed, and my colleague is well aware that I just recently tabled this document, and further, it is very clearly stated that annual reports will be tabled.”
The housing corporation’s 2015-16 annual report said the government spent $54.2 million on public housing construction that year and has built nearly 250 public housing units across the territory over the past three years.
Actions laid out in the Blueprint for Action on Housing include:
• supporting not-for-profit organizations accessing grants and contributions;
• conducting a market and statistical analysis to gauge need for public housing construction;
• encouraging and supporting banking and financial institutions to expand their services into smaller communities;
• gauging interest in private home ownership program along GN employees who live in GN-owned housing;
• developing guidelines to determine lot development by community;
• building on existing electronic filing system to increase efficiency in planning and land administration;
• developing the existing “Building Trades Helper” program to offer students entry-level employment skills in building maintenance and construction industry;
• engaging the Canadian High Arctic Research Station on research projects to reduce housing costs in Nunavut;
• developing resources and incentives to help tenants with the care and maintenance of public housing units; and,
• developing a business case for renewed, long-term federal investment in housing and infrastructure in Nunavut.
The housing corporation also announced changes this week to its down-payment assistance program, which starting April 1, 2017, will require Nunavummiut to have lived in the territory for at least a year before they are eligible for a forgivable loan of $30,000 to purchase a new or existing home.
Forgiveness on the loan only begins after five years of residency in the home, and becomes fully forgivable after 10 years.
You can read the complete Blueprint for Action on Housing here.