Eight new modular houses arrived in Tulita, N.W.T. earlier this week, but Mayor Douglas Yallee says that the units are only a start for the community's ongoing housing issues.
In May 2021, the federal government announced it would spend $4.9 million of its National Housing Co-Investment Fund on the 8 housing units.
15 months later, Yallee can't believe his eyes.
"I'm surprised to have all eight, but they're all here," he said on Thursday.
Yallee says there's still a lot of work to do to get the houses ready for living, including hooking up the power and installing fuel, sewer, and water tanks. He added that the community is still figuring out exactly who, and how many, will live in the homes.
'Huge, long waiting list' for housing in Tulita
Yallee hopes that these houses will play a "small part" in addressing a "big issue on housing" in the community.
"The houses that we have in the community are all very old," he said.
Yallee wants the government to finance more houses in Tulita to address the problem. He's not yet sure exactly how many more the community needs.
"I think it's time for the government to step in and start coming into the communities, and looking for themselves and seeing what's really happening on the ground here because we actually need new houses to be built into the community."
Yallee says there's a "huge, long waiting list" for housing in Tulita, and that it's common for people to have to wait two to three years to find a home.
He says he plans to bring up the issue at the Northwest Territories Association of Communities annual general meeting on September 15.