Public housing construction in Nunavut a go, despite COVID-19 measures, says minister
Nunavut Housing Corp. plans to build 116 units in 2020, another 130 units in 2021
Construction projects across the North may be facing logistical challenges due to COVID-19 prevention measures, but Nunavut’s housing minister says that won’t slow the construction of new housing in the territory.
All public and staff housing builds are moving forward as scheduled, Nunavut Housing Corp. Minister Patterk Netser told the legislative assembly on Monday, Sept. 21.
The NHC plans to build 116 units this year and another 130 units in 2021.
“I am pleased to say today that COVID-19 has not stopped or slowed our construction program,” he said.
Southern contractors are required to self-isolate for two weeks before arriving in Nunavut, which has required careful project planning in 2020. There are isolation hubs set up in Quebec City and Ottawa specifically for those workers, Netser said, so they aren’t taking up space from Nunavummiut who need their own isolation facilities.
The NHC’s waitlist for public housing sits at just over 2,800, as of 2019; the waitlist in Iqaluit alone is 434. But housing surveys have pegged the territory’s need for public housing at over 3,500 units.
The NHC manages 5,582 public housing units across the territory and 1,623 staff housing units.
More than half of Nunavummiut live in social housing and 80 per cent of those adult tenants earn less than $23,000 a year, the NHC’s last annual report noted.
Netser thanked NHC staff for keeping up with maintenance and service calls to tenants during the pandemic, including the delivery of 50,000 bars of soap and other cleaning supplies.