YELLOWKNIFE (Wednesday, June 2, 2021) – Today, the Standing Committee on Social Development reported progress on its review of housing in the Northwest Territories.
The Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Social Development (Committee) is made up of five Regular Members who look into social issues affecting NWT residents. Standing Committees can speak to NWT residents about issues and can make recommendations to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to make changes and improvements.
One area Committee has been focusing on is housing. Committee has been speaking to community members about their housing concerns and changes they would like to see from the government. Phase one of the review, which examined issues affecting homeowners and landlords, has been completed and recommendations to the territorial government were read in the House today.
The report details 12 recommendations to the GNWT:
Convert leased land to titled land;
Increase access and use of federal loans, grants, and funding to support indigenous housing developments;
Develop a Government Lease Program to support housing developers to access financing options;
Expand government housing programs for mental health and addictions;
Work with community partners to create an indeterminate community-based preventative maintenance program for homeowners;
Expand and increase funding for the Housing Corporation’s repair program and make the program more accessible;
Develop a northern informed homeownership program with person centered case management;
Within the Income Assistance program remove department to department policies that create barriers for applicants to receive the rental accommodation allowance;
Within the Income Assistance program make the rental allowance portable so people can choose where they want to live in the NWT;
Within the Income Assistance Program remove policies that force homeowners to sell their homes to receive accommodation allowance;
Within the Income Assistance Program expand the home insurance benefit allowance to support future and existing homeowners
Develop a government insurance program to help homeowners access and afford insurance;
The GNWT will have 120 days to respond to Committee’s recommendations. The second phase of the review will examine the GNWT’s public housing programs and homelessness programming. A report is expected for the next sitting in October 2021.
“Many stakeholders reiterated the long-standing homeownership challenges faced by northerners. Meeting with stakeholders gave Committee the opportunity to explore solutions to these long-standing issues and to see first-hand how the NWT’s housing system does not serve the needs of northerners. We hope these recommendations formed by the experiences of NWT residents are heard by the GNWT and make life better for residents.”
- Caitlin Cleveland, Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development