Nunavut Housing Corp. report underlines territory’s huge housing challenge

“The Government of Nunavut has a renewed way forward to tackle the housing crisis, but we can’t do it alone”

A new report from the Nunavut Housing Corp. says 3,545 households in the territory are still in need of housing. This diagram shows the public housing and staff housing units that are in construction (2019-20) and for which construction is planned (2020-22). (Image courtesy of the NHC)

By Nunatsiaq News

Nunavut’s housing crisis remains dire and there’s not enough money to fix that, according to a new report by the Nunavut Housing Corp.

The report, tabled on Sept. 29 in the Nunavut legislature by Patterk Netser, the minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp., said the current demand for public housing still exceeds what is available in all 25 communities.

This means there are an estimated 3,545 households in need of housing, said the report, “Angiraqattaaqtiaqtitsiniq: Helping find a good place to call home.”

“Even though the Nunavut Housing Corporation (NHC) maintains 5,582 public housing units and builds about 80 new units every year, this comes nowhere near meeting the demand,” the report said.

About 35 per cent of all homes are overcrowded and aren’t the appropriate sizes for families, and 56 per cent of Inuit live in overcrowded homes, the report said.

“This affects people beyond the lack of space. We know unsuitable housing is a significant risk factor for tuberculosis, another crisis we are fighting in Nunavut. We also know when families are able to move into suitable homes, they experience improvements to overall health and well-being, including reducing stress and asthma,” said the report.

In 2020-21 the NHC said it plans to build 130 new public housing units and 15 staff housing units, and, in the following year, to build 105 new public housing units and five staff housing units.

Although some Nunavut communities and groups would like to see tiny homes built, the report said building five-plexes is “more economical right now than tiny homes and modular homes.”

As it stands now, each public housing unit costs about $26,700 a year to service and maintain, the report said.

The NHC said its priorities include “increasing Nunavut’s housing supply, improving collaboration among housing partners, providing options to meet different housing needs, and promoting self-reliance.”

But it acknowledged that “a key barrier to our progress is doing a lot with little—we need to keep managing our resources, capacity, and funding so that we can allocate housing options in a fair way.”

In tabling the report in the Nunavut legislature, Netser said that “while we continue to make steady progress on our housing action plan, there is still much more work to do. The Government of Nunavut has a renewed way forward to tackle the housing crisis, but we can’t do it alone.”

“Over the next nine years, we will continue making progress with the $265 million in funding from the National Housing Strategy and the $9 million Canada Housing Benefit from the federal government.”

Also in the legislature, on Sept. 21, Netser said construction projects across the North faced logistical challenges due to COVID-19 prevention measures, but that wouldn’t slow down the construction of new public and staff housing in the territory in 2020.

Share This Story

(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by Scared on

    This housing issue has been studied n reported to death. We all know there is a housing crisis in Nunavut. Hey GN time to start putting ur words to serious actions. The social issues in Nunavut will always continue as long as we r short of affordable housing. Start thinking outside the box, oh wait they can’t because of the bureaucratic BS n outdated policies.

  2. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Well this comes as no surprise to anyone.
    My memory goes back to the matchbox houses of the 1970s. Inadequate, small, overcrowded and there were still not enough to go around.
    So with the highest reproduction rate, and the highest unemployment rate in the country why would anyone be surprised at a housing crisis.
    We need to approach this problem differently. We need to be able to build housing from mainly northern materials, with northern labor, at a pace that keeps up with the population and is sustainable financially.
    I also don’t see how you get this without some sort of basic income to basically look after food and housing.
    Maybe you build with cut stone as many societies have done for hundreds of years. Heck there’s no shortage of rock in Nunavut. Maybe we get a TBM and just bore out tunnel after tunnel for as much living space is required.

    • Posted by General Mills on

      My thought is that I’m deeply tired of people proposing the latest fad, gimmick or wild fantasy as housing solutions.
      There are no magic bullets or replacements for hard dollars and two by fours.

    • Posted by David on

      It’s hard to have good thoughts without a detailed accounting of the costs to build?

      Where is the bulk of the money going is my question. If the GN is building 145 units this year, how is it possible they are not getting an absolutely smoking deal on these packages?

      • Posted by 29 times 5 on

        The GN is not getting the “smoking deal” you speak of for many reasons. One reason is that they are not buying 145 units. They are buying 5 units, 29 times. Each one is a seperate, one-time purchase.
        There is no real effort to build local capacity. That takes time and effort. Instead, the GN is violating the terms of the Nunavut Agreement and violating the NNI Policy. They keep reaching for a short term gain at the expense of long term pain.
        Over-crowding has its limits. Already most Inuit who graduate from university do not return to Nunavut because there is no place for them to live and few jobs where they can get the experience needed to start a career.
        Within a few years we are going to see “shanty towns”. People will feel compelled to build whatever shack they can in order to survive the Nunavut winter. The Housing Corporation “mansions” will be out of reach for most young Inuit. Housing Corporation and Hamlet governments will become ever more irrelevent for most Inuit.

  3. Posted by Hands are Tied on

    It costs the GN over $20,000 per year to put an employee in staff-housing, a non-taxable benefit, yet will only pay that same employee $4,800 in taxable income to rent privately or own their own home. And then the GN throws their hands in the air and says, “We need more funding! We don’t know what to do! We have such limited resources!”

  4. Posted by Iqaluit Condos on

    Can NHC report on how the sale of all those condos in Iqaluit went? You know, when they interfered with the housing market by flooding it with below-market value prices? Did they all sell?

    • Posted by All in on

      I’ve heard from a current tenant in one that hers is owned and leased by folks who’ve since purchasing, now relocated out of the territory. Amazing job GN!

  5. Posted by John Green on

    Didn’t the housing Minister say he was going to go meet with NTI? As Paul Q said just walk over there and meet with the NTI president. Did he do it? He should be at his office after sitting but he seems to disappear right away. The MP could open doors for him in the Federal Government but that won’t happen as it requires meeting and lobbying. The facts is all the Housing Department can show with no other plan or strategy for more money. During Covid the Federal Government is more sensitive now to giving away money and so think Terry!

    • Posted by all in on

      hmm, I wonder how Minister Netser’s meeting with the MP went while she was visiting his home community on a housing tour just a month or so ago?

  6. Posted by Inuit Orgs Are Failing on

    NTI has $2B in the bank. $1B would solve the housing crisis. Where is NTI on this? Oh yeah. Refusing to actually do anything for Inuit. Where is ITK on this? Too busy fighting Natan’s personal battles instead of doing anything for Inuit.

    The Inuit orgs are badly failing Inuit.

  7. Posted by Where are they ?? on

    Yes, Inuit Orgs are Failing, they are helping the people but
    only their own family & friends.
    Us Inuit people should be asking for accountability from all
    our organizations, but we will never do it.
    It was us who picked our leaders, only ourselves to blame,
    we never learn.

Comments are closed.