Western Inuit organization to distribute $5.8M in COVID-19 relief
Kitikmeot Inuit Association receives additional federal funding for families, elders, artist and sewers
The Kitikmeot Inuit Association has ramped up its support of Inuit in western Nunavut during the second wave of COVID-19 by allocating the $5.8 million it recently received from the federal Indigenous Community Support Funding program to help the most vulnerable in the region.
The new programs will offer a monthly meat pack to families, $300 a month to elders and grants of up to $1,000 so local carvers, artists and sewers can purchase supplies.
While KIA offices will remain closed to the public from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2 as part of the territory-wide lockdown, the organization will continue distributing temporary COVID-19 assistance programs in the region, the KIA said in a Nov. 17 news release.
The KIA announced Nov. 17 it had received more federal funding to offer Kitikmeot resident beneficiaries relief to help them with food during the second wave of the pandemic in Nunavut. It comes from a $33.8 million pot administered by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
Beneficiary families will be eligible to receive a monthly voucher for a meat pack from their local Co-op store. The arrangement aims to ensure families have stable food supplies while helping Co-op stores during this difficult period, KIA president Stanley Anablak said.
“Approved applicants will be able to get a voucher locally to take to their Co-op store in exchange for a meat pack,” Anablak said.
The funding will allow KIA to assist more than 1,600 families a month from December to March.
The KIA said it could not provide any other figures about the amount of money that will be spent on the meal vouchers because it is still finalizing the details with the Arctic Co-operatives in Winnipeg.
The KIA plans to finalize the process for people to apply for the assistance before Dec. 1.
Part of the COVID 19 relief funding includes an elders benefit supplement from Indigenous Services Canada.
“In many households the elders are the ones that ensure food is available on a daily basis to family members that reside with them,” Anablak said in a recent release.
The KIA plans to assist 521 elders, 60 years of age and over, including those who live outside Nunavut, with a monthly cash payment of $300 from November to March.
No application is required and where possible all funds will be directly deposited, the KIA said.
The new program for elders builds on the previous $22.5 million elders supplement program started in the spring. It provided elders who are Kitikmeot beneficiaries and over 60 with a cash payment of $500 per month to buy more healthy foods.
The KIA board also has approved a top-up of the Nunavut Sivumut program aimed at carvers, artists and sewers to help them get the required tools or materials produce carvings, arts and crafts for sale to the general public.
“Our [Nunavut Sivumut] program is always one of the first programs we offer each year that runs out of dedicated funding. Many of our residents earn a modest income through the sales of arts and crafts. That income allows them to keep supporting themselves and their families. This top up will allow more of our beneficiaries a chance to do that,” Anablak said.
This program, topped up by $200,000 from Indigenous Services Canada, will be made available to lower-income Kitlkmeot-based beneficiaries at $1,000 per application from November to March.
NTI announces new COVID-19 programs
NTI received $33.8 million in Indigenous Community Support Funding, a federal COVID-19 response program. It allocated the following funds to:
- NTI—$7.7 million
- Qikiqtani Inuit Association—$10.4 million
- Kivalliq Inuit Association—$7.3 million
- Kitikmeot Inuit Association—$5.9 million
- Urban Inuit—$2.5 million
NTI’s new measures under the Indigenous Community Support Fund include:
- $1.69 million to support children with Inuktut learning packages focused on literacy and numeracy.
- $1 million for existing and new shelters, domestic violence shelters and transition homes to support physical distancing.
- $500,000 to expand Nunavut’s testing capacity, such as training for Inuit.
- $500,000 to supply every Nunavut Inuit household with a thermometer.
- $500,000 for Nunavut Inuit sewers to make face masks.
- $500,000 to provide food, cleaning supplies and learning resources for any individual diagnosed with coronavirus, and their family, to support their 14-day self-isolation.
- $250,000 to work with hamlets and the Government of Nunavut to support reliable water and sewer infrastructure.
- $200,000 wage subsidy for early childhood educators, in partnership with the GN, for 2020 mandatory closures.
Earlier this year, NTI also allocated $22.5 million from the Indigenous Community Support Fund among Nunavut’s Inuit associations and urban Inuit.