Paulie Chinna: Northwest Territories Housing Corporation Renewal Strategy

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Yellowknife — November 24, 2021

Check against delivery

 

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is undertaking a review and renewal exercise to ensure that the Housing Corporation’s efforts are effective and producing the desired outcomes for Northwest Territories communities and residents.

Across the world, affordable housing is a significant issue. We face the same in the North, with the added complications of a severe northern climate, very real pressures on both supply and labour, and working across extraordinarly remote and vast lands.  

Mr. Speaker, the 19th Legislative Assembly made safe and affordable housing a priority and on March 4, 2021, a motion was passed calling for a change in the mandate of the
NWT Housing Corporation.  A large number of reports and consultations have been conducted within the last five years, including one of the most extensive surveys ever conducted by the Government of the Northwest Territories with the public. This high level of interest and scrutiny will continue through forums like the NWT Council of Leaders Officials Housing Working Group.

The NWT Housing Corporation is rethinking its purpose. People need to be at the centre of every housing perspective; programs that are no longer practical or do not really serve Northerners need to change; client service needs to be improved; the housing aspirations of Indigenous governments needs to be better supported; our relationships deepened with existing partners as well as inviting more in to become partners.

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot in recent years about the housing situation, and we understand the time for further studies is over.   Now is the time to implement solutions.  

As we move forward, the NWT Housing Corporation is committed to ensuring Northerners are kept informed.  Our social media, our website and, as needed, information in Local Housing Offices, or in print and radio will always be refreshed to keep Northerners aware of the ways the NWT Housing Corporation is serving Northerners better.  Some actions will be quick, in fact some have already happened. 

  • Just this year, as a result of significant engagement with the federal government, we are partnering in unprecedented levels of housing activity. Over the next two years record numbers of homes will be built throughout the North.
  • Nearly 200 people who were leasing their property now have their land in “fee simple” title, in other words, they became property owners, and
  • 160 public housing units are scheduled for major renovations and upgrades in
    2021-2022.  Of these 160 units, 38 projects are complete, and contracts have been awarded on a further 95 projects.

These are just a few of the actions already underway that will make a very real, tangible difference to the lives of Northerners who need housing. Additionally, the Housing Corporation continues to make progress on Community Housing Plans. These plans provide communities, and their stakeholders, the tools to plan and direct the future of housing in their communities. To date, the Housing Corporation has engaged with 23 communities on their Community Housing Plans.

New actions will be coming and will not stop until we have made clear our progress based on our four pillars of renewal:  rethinking our purpose; strengthening our staff; revising our programs and deepening and growing our partnerships.

We are excited to see how this renewal process will result in making life better for people throughout the North and I hope you will be excited too.

At the appropriate time today, I will be tabling the NWT Housing Corporation Renewal Strategy.

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.