Nunavik’s needs — 899 new housing units: survey
Demand among Nunavik’s young population is strong for one-bedroom apartments
KANGIQSUJUAQ — Nunavik needs to build at least 899 new housing units to meet the region’s growing demand for more housing.
That’s according to the 2013 housing needs survey tabled May 30 by the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau at the Kativik Regional Government council meeting in Kangiqsujuaq.
The report shows that now Nunavik has 2,609 social housing units, that is, apartments, duplexes or houses — but it needs more than 3,500 housing units now to give every household its own place to live.
The KMHB says that 899 new social housing units would allow the housing bureau to meet the region’s needs for social housing.
For the study, the KMHB surveyed more than 95 per cent of its tenants.
Despite the construction of 313 new units since the last Nunavik housing needs survey in 2010, the need for new units only went down by 96 due growing demands — and the survey said that, as the 45-plus per cent of Nunavimmiut who are now under 20 become older, the need for more housing will only increase.
“This reality will have a huge impact on the demand for housing needs,” the survey said.
The survey, which used Quebec-wide standards to calculate needs, shows one-bedroom units are sorely lacking. For example, in Kuujjuaq there’s a call for 128 more one-bedroom units while in Puvirnituq that need reaches 188 for one-bedroom units.
The results, the survey said, “should convince governments to increase their funding for the construction of social housing in Nunavik.”
The survey also notes that, to stretch Nunavik’s social housing stock further, tenants who live in larger, under-crowded units should be moved to smaller units — that could see more than 200 households downsizing their housing units.
The survey shows communities which need the highest number of new housing units are Nunavik’s largest communities — Inukjuak, which needs 127 units, Puvirnituq, which needs 161, Salluit , which needs 120, and Kuujjuaq, which needs 107.
But the survey shows that these communities are not necessarily those with the greatest amount of overcrowding in their housing.
Those communities include Kangiqsujuaq, Ivujivik, Quaqtaq, Kuujjuaraapik, Puvirnituq and Salluit.
Based on the information from the housing needs survey, KRG councillors decided May 30 to allocate the 150 units which will be built in 2014 by Makivik Corp.:
• Ivujivik, eight one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units;
• Kangiqsujuaq, 28 one-bedroom and 12 four-bedroom units;
• Kuujjuaraapik , eight one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom units;
• Puvirnituq, 28 one-bedroom and eight four-bedroom units;
• Quaqtaq, eight one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom units; and,
• Salluit, 12 one–bedroom and six four-bedroom units.
Akulivik, Aupaluk, Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Salluit and Tasiujaq are scheduled for new social housing construction in 2013.
After these housing units are built, the region will still lack about 20 per cent of the housing needs — although Aupaluk and Tasiujaq end up have a few spare housing units after 2013.
In 2013, the KMHB also plans to carry out $35.5-million worth of renovations in seven communities and sink another $40 million into renovations in 2014.
Among the KMHB’s other goals discussed at the KRG meeting: to encourage Nunavimmiut, who earn enough money, to build their own housing although this program, which wants to build 200 new houses, has been slow to start.
The survey shows more than 50 social housing tenants earn more than $100,000 and 86 between $80,000 and $100,000 a year.
Meanwhile, the KMHB is having more success in collecting rents. In 2012, unpaid rent only amounted to $333,025, down from $2.1 million in unpaid rent in 2010.
But the accumulated arrears from 2000 to 2012 still total $15.1 million, with the largest arrears from Akulivik ($1.2 million), Inukjuak ($2 million), Kangiqsualujjuaq ($1.8 million), Kuujjuaq ($3million), Kuujjuaraapik ($1.9 million), Puvirnituq ($1 million), and Salluit ($1 million). The largest amounts of arrears amounted from the administrative hub of Kuujjuaq — $146, 308 — and the region’s poorest community of Inukjuak — $135,156.
As for Salluit, tenants in that Hudson Strait community paid off nearly $63,000 in arrears.
The amount of arrears did not enter into the housing distribution.
The KMHB continues to work on collecting rents, evicting habitual non-payers and rewarding good tenants through its Pivallianiq program, which holds draws for prizes next week through Nunavik to eligible tenants.