The N.W.T. Housing Corporation wants to build 45 new energy efficient rental homes for RCMP members in five N.W.T. communities where RCMP housing is being phased out by the federal government.
Revi Lau-a, the manager of the N.W.T. Housing Corp., says the RCMP approached the housing corporation in April 2015 after Public Works and Government Services Canada notified the RCMP of its plan to get rid of houses in Hay River, Norman Wells, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Inuvik.
"We certainly welcome a partnership with the RCMP in order to ensure that our communities remain safe and that we're fully staffed, especially in the communities that they've identified," said Lau-a.
If approved, the project won't take money away from other housing programs serving more vulnerable segments of the N.W.T.'s population, and will ultimately pay for itself, says Lau-a.
"It doesn't impact the folks that are currently on our public housing waiting list," he said.
"The intention is that the long-term lease rates that we intend to work out will fully fund the implementation and ongoing operations of this project."
The corporation still needs to apply to the territorial government's Financial Management Board for the money to build the homes.
Old landlord wanted out
Public Works and Government Services Canada says the demand for federal housing in those five communities has declined due to the development of local housing markets and devolution (the latter having moved some federal jobs to the territorial government).
Of the 106 units that Public Works administers in those communities, there are currently 41 vacancies, "which equates to 39 per cent of the housing portfolio in these communities," said Public Works spokesman Tom Corrigan.
"The provision of housing... no longer provides value for money," said Corrigan.
The N.W.T. Housing Corp.'s RCMP housing project would come in addition to 100 market housing units planned for construction over the next two years.
Those homes are aimed at service providers, such as nurses and teachers, for whom the availability of adequate housing has been identified as a potential barrier to recruitment or retention by the territorial government.