The Northwest Territories will be getting 126 affordable housing units, announced in a Monday morning joint press conference with the territorial and federal governments.
The new units will be constructed with funding from the federal National Housing Co-investment Fund, out of which the NWT has received a special $60-million “carve out” dedicated to the North.
The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation will be using $25.5 million of the funding to construct 60 affordable units in 16 remote communities.
The other $34.5 million will go towards supporting Indigenous governments and organizations to create 66 affordable homes through the repair of existing units and the construction of new units. This funding will be distributed through the federal government.
The recipients of this funding has yet to be finalized and announcement will be made “in the coming months” according to communications staff with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Paulie Chinna, minister of the NWT Housing Corporation, described the announcement as historic and will provide 109 entirely new units in mostly smaller communities and 17 major repair projects.
“This means waiting list will go down in communities and it means more NWT residents will have a safe and appropriate place to call home,” Chinna said.
She said the housing projects will begin construction in the summer.
Chinna said the distribution of units was based on the wait list for housing in each small community.
Behchokǫ̀ will be receiving six units. Fort Resolution, Kakisa, Fort Providence, Łutsel Kʼe, Nahanni Butte, Fort Liard, Délı̨nę, Tulita, Fort Good Hope, Tsiigehtchic, Tuktoyaktuk and Paulatuk will all be getting four units. Colville Lake, Sambaa K’e and Ndilǫ/Dettah will all be getting two units.
The minister said that this was the first major increase in public housing in the last 25 years. She also noted that the NWT Housing Corporation has financially committed to the operation and maintenance of these buildings at $1.5 million per year for the next 50 to 60 years.
The funding for these projects was first announced two years ago, with today being the first announcement of how the money from the co-investment fund will be spent.
When asked about the delay Ahmed Hussen, federal minister responsible for CMHC, said this money was always meant to support affordable housing in the NWT.
“It was a question of collaboration and partnership,” he said.
“We had to collaborate with the Government of the Northwest Territories, we had to get their consent on how to proceed with the carve out and we had to listen to them in terms of the breakdown and their priorities.”
Chinna said that after the funding was first announced, there was a summit in Inuvik to gather input on how the funding would be spent, engage with stakeholders and gather applications.
The minister said that in the past year, she and her departmental staff had been travelling to 17 communities to assess needs and “get the word out strongly” for this funding.