Yellowknife housing co-op receives $9 million in federal funding for renovations, upgrades

Work is underway on energy efficiency upgrades at Yellowknife’s Borealis Housing Cooperative, thanks to a $9.05 million dollar federal grant, and $100,000 from the NWT Housing Corporation.

Work has already begun on some of the 50 homes

The houses that make up the Borealis Housing Co-operative are more than 30 years old, and the president says they need repairs and sustainability retrofits. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

A Yellowknife housing co-operative is getting some much-needed repair work and upgrades thanks to funding from the federal government.

Work has already begun on some of the 50 homes of the Borealis Housing Co-operative.

"These units are 30-plus years old and they were made with that technology in mind,"  said co-op president Keith Deans. 

"Things that we are hoping to gain are heating and energy efficiency."

"We're needing new windows and new doors, and then there's some interior things like the toilets and the bathrooms."

Deans says the funding, $9.05 million, will help "ensure that our members and community continue to have safe, affordable housing well into the future," and he says co-op members are "very appreciative" of the chance to finance repairs to their homes. 

Territory contributes $100,000

MLA Paulie Chinna, minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation, said the housing corporation has also contributed $100,000 toward the repair works.

Chinna said she is "quite excited" about the announcement and what it means for affordable housing in the territory. 

The Borealis cooperative is one of three housing cooperatives in the Northwest Territories. 

Chinna says they are typically more affordable than other options. 

"The cooperative model puts the community and its residents front and centre in its decision-making from start to finish," said Chinna.

The $9 million dollar federal investment comes in addition to the $60 million the federal government had already set aside to address housing needs and challenges in the Northwest Territories. 

Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen said the repairs to Borealis Co-op homes are exactly the type of project the National Housing Co-Investment Fund is meant to support. 

According to Hussen, the federal government has already helped renew or repair over 90,000 homes throughout the country.

"All of us know that having an affordable place to call home in a country as big, beautiful and cold as Canada — and it gets very cold here — is absolutely essential to the well-being of everyone who calls this land home," he said.

"Affordable housing is important because it provides stability for people."