Mr. Speaker, access to housing continues to be one of the most serious issues for people in the Northwest Territories. Many new players are coming to the table with a new interest in addressing this need and roles and responsibilities for housing delivery continue to change and evolve. Our government is committed to working with other governments and housing stakeholders to implement northern solutions for northern housing to help address our high cost of living.
The federal government has come back on the scene with a potential long-term commitment under their National Housing Strategy. We are still negotiating with them on the final amount and how to use those resources. Indigenous governments are now taking more of an interest in housing delivery. Although no Indigenous governments have drawn down jurisdiction over housing, there have been offers for engagement and partnership.
Mr. Speaker, these shifting roles and some new resources offer an opportunity to reshape housing governance, partnership and planning in the Northwest Territories. To set the stage for more multi-stakeholder involvement in housing projects, the Housing Corporation will be working with individual communities to undertake long-term housing planning in all 33 communities in the Northwest Territories. Housing plans will be developed through a partnership involving the Housing Corporation, the community and other stakeholders with resources and information to offer.
Mr. Speaker, our focus is to ensure that the values and priorities communities have about their housing are reflected in their housing plans. By synthesizing community knowledge and perspectives with housing data and statistics, housing plans will form a comprehensive map to better direct federal and territorial governments, Indigenous governments, community governments and private industry on future housing investments.
Mr. Speaker, the Housing Corporation has also committed to working with communities to monitor these housing plans on an ongoing basis once they have been developed. The deliverables that communities can expect include a comprehensive community profile, a needs analysis and a housing plan with goals and outcomes we can use to measure housing changes over time. Some areas housing plans will focus on include housing need, housing demand, health, education, crime, economic information, available land, population growth and other factors that support a comprehensive strategic planning document.
Mr. Speaker, the Housing Corporation has undertaken discussions over the past three months with stakeholders in the Government of the Northwest Territories, the federal government, Indigenous governments and individual communities to start the first round of housing plans for this fiscal year. A community selection process has been established, including readiness criteria that are based on community interest and stakeholder input. Key criteria include a municipal community plan, committed leadership ready to lead the housing plan process, existing advisory or other committees and potential to hire a local facilitator to engage the community, gather local feedback and to help plan for a community housing forum.
The Housing Corporation has presented this concept to the Tłı̨chǫ Government and the Government of the Northwest Territories Housing Working Group. The Housing Corporation will be working with Tłı̨chǫ representatives towards the development of community housing plans over the next year. My understanding is that Whatı̀ will be one of the first communities within the Tłı̨chǫ region to begin the housing planning process. The Housing Corporation met the week of October 15 with the community’s leadership to seek formal approval and agreement to participate.
The Housing Corporation has also presented this concept to the Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government. The Délı̨nę leadership was anxious to proceed, and they will shortly be issuing a formal resolution to participate in this project.
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, and communities in the Sahtu and South Slave regions have also expressed interest in starting plans. The Housing Corporation is targeting at least four communities, in addition to Délı̨nę and Whatı̀, to complete plans in the next six months.
This is not planning for planning’s sake, Mr. Speaker. Once the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government have come to an agreement under the National Housing Strategy, there will be further housing investment opportunities in our communities. The Housing Corporation will multiply this investment by stacking resources through its Community Housing Support Initiative, which has already seen the development of new housing in partnership with Indigenous governments such as the Salt River First Nation.
Mr. Speaker, we have all heard the saying, “nothing about us without us.” The Housing Corporation’s initiative to develop 33 community housing plans meets the spirit of that saying. Investment by all housing stakeholders will be informed by and grounded in direct feedback from community residents, ensuring that our resources are used in the most effective way to meet community priorities.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.