Tenant education workshops planned for people living in public housing

Nunavut Housing Corp. says workshops will be pilot project to teach residents how to monitor, repair units

The Nunavut Housing Corporation is launching a pilot project to hold tenant education workshops for public housing residents, says housing minister Lorne Kusugak. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Emma Tranter

The Nunavut Housing Corporation says it will launch education workshops for people living in public housing across the territory.

The workshops will be a pilot project to teach tenants how to monitor, care for and maintain housing units, said housing minister Lorne Kusugak, speaking to the legislative assembly’s committee of the whole Wednesday night.

“It’ll give the tenants an opportunity to learn about home maintenance, about budgeting, about taking care of your home and the responsibilities of being a tenant in the public housing units and how to apply for public housing units,” he said.

The project will also teach tenants how to do things like remove minor incidences of mould and to do small repairs like fixing a doorknob or cabinet.

“One of the things that the housing corporation has been really bad at, actually, is giving out information on the different programs that are available to homeowners, the renters, and so forth and we need to do better at that,” Kusugak said.

While local housing authorities do annual inspections of public housing units, damage is not always reported.

“We need to get our housing associations staff to do better in terms of reporting the misuse or abuse of units, and in turn the monitoring of that and repair of them,” Kusugak said.

Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes said he thinks that while it should not be the local housing authority’s responsibility to look over tenants’ shoulders, staff should be better at carrying out regular inspections.

He said that while campaigning last year, some of the units he visited were “in incredible disrepair, and [with] the kind of stuff that doesn’t happen in a year or two years or even five years.”

“I can’t emphasize enough how much work would be avoided if these annual inspections occurred and those discussions happened sooner rather than later,” Hickes said on Wednesday, during the meeting.

The committee also heard the housing corporation has 6,000 public housing units, but 3,000 more are still needed to meet demand, and 50 per cent of its housing stock is more than 30 years old.

“It becomes very hard to maintain something that’s really, really old and renovated so many times that it shrinks from the inside,” Kusugak said.

Overcrowding is also an issue that affects the housing corporation’s stock, said Kusugak. Damage is more likely to occur simply because more people are using the unit.

“There are many people out there who are doing their best to maintain their houses and keep them clean, and maintain them, but when there’s no room in that house and you have three families and one washroom, something is going to break,” he said.

The tenant education workshop pilot project is expected to begin in 2022-2023 and launch officially in 2023-24.

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(18) Comments:

  1. Posted by Blast from the past on

    Interesting. I am certain there was a similar program back in the 1950s and 60s, I am sure no one imagined then we would be revisiting this 70 years later.

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  2. Posted by Name Withheld on

    I’m sure the tenant handbook is likely very dusty in some LHO.

    Manager in each LHO has to ensure that all the TRO’s are explaining the tenants responsibility that they occupied as I too have seen much demand for cleaning in the units occupied.

    And the same excuse is there is too much mold present. If proper cleaning was looked at and more education what is expected from the tenants I’m sure all would be livable. But than you have to deal with Maintenance crew that only shows up to work when they want to or does not show up at all. Mind you they have preferential tenants they answer work orders too also.

    Board members elected are there for the public housing and only public housing not to supervise or look at staffing.

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  3. Posted by jawbones on

    Local Housing staff do annual Public House inspections? When? Moved into our Public Housing unit in 2007 and have never observed any local housing staff do inspections outside or inside our unit.

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    • Posted by OH! on

      Annual inspections are only rarely performed when maintenance has time from the never-ending cycle of repairing smashed windows and doors. Pilot project training for tenants should include anger management?

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  4. Posted by A Bargain on

    Yes passing a course on responsible home ownership and daily proof of job seeking should be required for most people seeking public housing.

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  5. Posted by Nunavummiuataq on

    There should be one for homeowners, learn how to trouble shoot furnaces and hot water heaters

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    • Posted by Dave on

      You’re 100% right.

      Lot’s of people can fix and maintain a quad or Ski Doo. I would argue that a furnace or water heater is easier to fix, just maybe not as much fun.

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  6. Posted by eileen on

    what a great idea.
    those of us who consider ourselves good tenants, or guests, only know what
    is expected, because someone told us.
    not every one has been told to leave every place better than you found it.
    on the land, in a hotel room or in rental housing.

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  7. Posted by Day 2 on

    How to get drunk, angry and demolish things. Plywood windows are sort of shabby chic

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  8. Posted by Mass Formation on

    Has mold become not a serious lung health issue and now passed off to the tenant to fix? It sounds like the government hasn’t been documenting the housing mold damage ever. Have years of housing mold, mold in hundreds of news reports fell on no ears in the government? Until today. It’s point the finger at the current tenant in the housing unit that the mold is your fault. Now, take the required course and know how to fix it at your expense. Sounds like the Government is using the ‘Just 2 Weeks’ playbook… just small, which keeps on growing… just medium.. just large, to off load fixing and paying for mold damage. And if the tenant stands their ground and for health says no… You’re not off loading this old house and its dangerous-mold-health-issues on to me to fix at my expense! What happens to them?

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    • Posted by Umingmak on

      In the vast majority of cases, mould is caused by tenant negligence.

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    • Posted by Dave on

      Sometimes mold is a serious issue that needs professionals.

      And……….. sometimes it’s not! Mold “can be” 100% the tenant’s fault too. Often mold is a simple problem and a little effort and knowledge can make a huge difference.

      A responsible parent should have the knowledge to tackle this problem to protect the air quality for their children. As well, tackling the problem early can prevent the problem from growing, further protecting the family in the home.

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    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Maintain your home and keep it clean and it shouldn’t get moldy

  9. Posted by Monica Connolly on

    In the 60s, there were lessons for tenants of new houses. I visited Clyde River in 1972 – my mother, who set cleanliness next to godliness, would have been comfortable in the houses I saw there.

    It would be a good idea to make short videos of these lessons, and also search the web for suitable videos of housing maintenance. If there’s too much English, do Inuktitut voice-overs.

  10. Posted by still here on

    if you have seven or more people in a unit, I ask why are the free loaders not helping out with cleaning, cooking and making sure the person who is responsible for the unit has a better life. Yep, cant help or teach respect and responsibility, this is more a role model thing, not an instructive course.

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  11. Posted by How can the tenants get service on

    My family member lives in a top floor of a multiplex and has been complaining a dripping pipe for months without repair. What steps can the tenants as these make the units worse when they go unattended. Nice to blame the tenants mr. Minister but perhaps the neglect by staff needs some attention too.

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  12. Posted by Mary Ellen Thomas on

    Bring back Shop and Home Ec teachers Cheaper.

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  13. Posted by Concerned Resident on

    A large number of the tenant’s do not have to fork over a dime, or earn living in that unit. Their rent comes from SA, family allowance, etc which they get free. And then handed over to the Housing Corporation.
    So they do not learn to respect, and how much it takes to have the privilege of a roof over there head. The ones in those shoes, that have experienced how hard it is living on the streets in yhe Southern Hemisphere, have a great deal of respect for there units, as do the ones earning a living and paying close to/or max rent scale.
    NHC should make a program where, if a tenant doesn’t pay even a portion out of pocket, put in a few hundred hour’s of community service, for every member over legal age under that roof.

    And make it not ok for ongoing repairs for tenant damage. If a tenant/or anyone living under that roof keeps breaking windows/ walls/etc. take the unit away as there is hundreds of other possible clients waiting in line to be able to respect that space. A roof over your head is a privilege, not a god given right that comes along with social assistance.

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