Governments creating group to address N.W.T.'s housing crisis

·2 min read

Four levels of government will together form a working group to find solutions to a housing crisis that shows no sign of abating in the Northwest Territories.

It's not yet clear what exactly that group will look like, nor what its precise priorities will be. The first meeting of the group – comprising federal, territorial, Indigenous, and community government representatives – will take place later this month.

The N.W.T.’s housing minister, Paulie Chinna, told reporters “addressing the housing needs of the Northwest Territories communities is not something any single government can do alone.”

Chinna said: “With so many players, it is really important that we are working together as much as we can to make sure the people who need our support know what supports are available and know how to access them.

“This working group will also let us make sure everybody involved in housing in the North understands the unique needs and challenges of delivering the programs here.”

Chinna said the territory suffers from a short construction season, high costs, and communities without all-season access roads.

Also on Tuesday, Canada said $25 million allotted to the N.W.T. in the latest federal budget for the territory's most pressing housing needs was now available "to essentially spend it as they see fit."

In a news release, the governments said that money would pay for an additional 30 public housing units.

Dan Vandal, the federal northern affairs minister, said the working group would “eliminate those structural barriers so community groups can access housing funding."

Vandal told reporters: “We will be working closely together to help develop policies, make sure that strategies are appropriate for the North, and play a role in planning for the future of housing.

“We want results, and we want it to be result-focused."

Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio

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