Feds pledge $19.2 million to support low-income renters in the N.W.T.

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Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen announced the territory would be receiving $19.2 million to address housing issues in the N.W.T.   (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen announced the territory would be receiving $19.2 million to address housing issues in the N.W.T. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The federal government is contributing $19.2 million to help N.W.T. renters afford housing.

The investment is supporting an existing program run by the territorial government that provides direct financial assistance to low-income families.

Over the next seven years, the federal funding is expected to support over 500 households, announced federal minister Ahmed Hussen on Wednesday afternoon.

"Far too many people are forced to make the impossible choice between paying the rent and paying for groceries," said Hussen, who is responsible for housing and mortgage, along with children and social development.

The territory's housing minister, Paulie Chinna, said people should reach out to local housing authorities to see if they are eligible for financial assistance and information about the application process.

On Monday, N.W.T. MP Micheal McLeod announced that 18 new modular housing units would be built in the Tłı̨chǫ region, resulting from a $3.9 million federal investment.

Housing issues

As of 2019, over 42 per cent of housing units had at least one problem, including issues with suitability, affordability, or adequacy, like needing repairs, according to N.W.T. statistics.

Ninety per cent of the housing in Colville Lake, N.W.T., have problems.

Around 46 per cent of housing units are rented in the N.W.T., and over a 10 year period, the proportion of affordability issues has doubled in Yellowknife.

It isn't clear if the funding has already been committed under the 2021 budget, and is now allocated to a specific program.

In the federal government's most recent budget, it earmarked $25 million in 2021-22, to the Northwest Territories government to help address housing priorities, including supporting the construction of 30 new public housing units across the territory.

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