Paulie Chinna: Housing Northwest Territories Renewal Successes
February 7, 2023
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to provide an update on Housing Northwest Territories’ Renewal, including some long-awaited changes we have made to programs and policies that are already improving housing supports for those most in need.
In June 2021, at the first meeting of the NWT Council of Leaders, I stood with my colleague, the Honourable Premier Cochrane, and committed to conducting a review of the former NWT Housing Corporation’s policies and programs with a working group identified by the Council.
In the relatively short time since that commitment was made, I am pleased to report on some of the results of that important work, which has been guided by Housing NWT’s renewal strategy.
First, we made fundamental changes to our mandate. These changes included:
A commitment to deliver client-focused services and assist those most in need,
the recognition that housing plays an important role in the well-being of individuals and communities, and the recognition that strong partnerships are key to improving housing outcomes.
With a new mandate in place, Housing NWT had its marching orders to work with the Council of Leaders Housing Working Group and to look at policy and programming changes through the lens of the new mandate.
Some of the resulting changes include: eliminating the need for a co-pay for emergency repairs to ensure that emergencies are addressed in a timely manner.
Working collaboratively with stakeholders and Indigenous governments on the design and location of the units we build.
Addressing the higher costs of home repairs by increasing the maximum funding amounts for projects funded under these three programs the Emergency Repair Program, Fuel Tank Replacement Program and the Seniors Aging in Place Program. Changing our approach to Community Housing Plannings to recognize the key leadership role NWT Indigenous governments are playing in providing housing supports to their members. Enhancing our support to Local Housing Associations, our primary partners, in the delivery of public housing in communities, with better training and communication. Improving tools for tenant education and communications regarding their tenancy agreements and lastly, working to plan, build and manage our assets in an energy efficient manner with an Energy Management Strategy & Blueprint, the details of which will be announced soon.
Housing NWT will also be moving forward with new pilot program that is expected to offset some of the costs of shipping materials to remote communities and another program that will improve the availability of minor home repair materials where they are difficult to access.
Mr. Speaker, the changes guided by Housing NWT’s renewal are not limited to programs and policy. They touch on all areas of Housing NWT’s work. We have charted a new path for collaborative work with Indigenous governments, including agreements with the Tłı̨chǫ Government, Sahtu Secretariat, and with others to follow.
We are improving our communication with stakeholders and the public. We are seeking partnership with Non-Governmental Organizations and others like never before. We have seen successes in our engagement with the federal government to address our housing priorities.
I would like to thank the Council of Leaders, and the participants on the working group, for helping us improve and modernize Housing NWT’s mandate, programs and policies.
Your contributions have led to positive changes that are already helping us better serve residents. Housing NWT is not content with minor tweaks to the status quo. Our renewal has marked a turning point for the GNWT in how we address the territory’s housing crisis.
Mr. Speaker, by providing fair access to quality housing support for people most in need,
I am confident that we will increase the wellbeing of individuals and communities across the NWT as stated in our mandate. I am proud of the work we have done thus far and look forward to the work ahead.
Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.