Ex-Fort Simpson housing authority board member questions NWT Housing Corp’s reasons for dissolving board

Photo of Fort Simpson courtesy of MACA

An ex-board member of the Fort Simpson housing authority is calling out the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation for dissolving the board that oversees the community’s housing authority.

The housing corp recently fired the manager of the authority, and appointed their own housing corporation employee in their place.

The housing corporation claims that these moves were made due to the board and manager’s failure to address deficiencies identified in a recent Aditor General of Canada report.

However, in a news release from the office of the Deh Cho grand chief which includes Fort Simpson, an ex-board member questions the reasoning given by the Housing Corp and says a deficit was inherited and the local Housing Authority.

The former board member is not named in the release.

The release states the local housing authority properly spent its funds on employee’s salaries and program costs.

That person also claims that the housing corp has been attempting to dictate the Simpson housing authority’s decision-making for some time.

The disbanding of the board and the firing of the manager is the latest example of this overreaching into local decision making, the release states.

The ex-board member is quoted in a local published report as saying the situation has more to do with a personality conflict between the GNWT and the recently-fired manager.

He is reportedly calling for an independent review of the decision to disband the local agency.

A further example of the differences in views between the Housing Corporation and Housing Authority can be seen in their stance on the issue of bedbugs in some of the public housing units in Liidlii Kue/Fort Simpson.

According to a source that News/North reached last week the Housing Corporation has not provided any assistance in this matter and their senior staff … even publicly denying there is a problem.

As of early July, the Housing Corporation was taking the stand that all bed bug issues were dealt with in Fort Simpson.

On the other hand, the local housing authority’s manager ordered public houses to be heat treated for bed bugs between April and May.

In June the local housing authority called an emergency inter-agency meeting to discuss the issue.

“The claims that the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has failed to support treatment for bedbug infestation and has denied the problem’s existence is troubling. Equally upsetting are the allegations that the Housing Corporation has been trying to dictate the decisions coming from the local Housing Authority,” the release states. “If these claims are true, then that shows a failure on the Housing Corporation to ensure adequate and suitable housing for the residents of the Dehcho. With these claims in mind and the fact that Yellowknife based Housing Corporation disbanded the Fort Simpson Housing Authority, the Dehcho may be better suited to deal with our housing issues ourselves.”

It goes on to states that the NWT Housing Corporation and the Fort Simpson Housing Authority have differing accounts on these events.

“The public deserves to know the truth. Housing is critical issue and is closely tied to public health and wellness. It is extremely important for our people. That is why the Dehcho First Nations demands an independent assessment on the events surrounding the housing authority’s board’s disbandment and the manager’s firing,” it states. “Any communication between government organizations is open to the public and should be investigated in this independent assessment. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and the Fort Simpson Housing Authority must be accountable to the people of the Dehcho.”

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.