Fort Good Hope recognized with $10K award for housing program

Fort Good Hope has been diligently assessing houses and triaging repairs, and now they're being recognized for the impact of that project on housing conditions in their community.

K'asho Got’ine Housing Society is training up local people to repair and renovate homes

The community of Fort Good Hope is responding to the housing needs of community members by collecting data that will enable them to focus their work orders on repairs and renovations that will have the greatest impact. (Submitted by Benita T'Seleie-King)

Fort Good Hope's K'asho Got'ine Housing Society is being recognized with a $10,000 award from the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation for a research project that assesses homes for repairs, replacements and renovations while creating local employment and training opportunities.

Arthur Tobac, director of the K'asho Got'ine Housing Society, says the community has been hard at work assessing homes, organizing repairs and bringing in building materials that will contribute to their housing.

"Being recognized for the hard work we're undertaking on behalf of the community … you feel positive about the work you are doing," Tobac said. 

Fort Good Hope's program has assessed 30 homes from roof to foundation, and rated the condition of homes so that they can be triaged for repair. This allows the community to understand what repairs will have the highest impact on the state of housing in Fort Good Hope. Tobac said some of the homes need major repairs or replacement.

Helping homeowners access maintenance

Tobac said many private homeowners in Fort Good Hope are registering their homes with the K'asho Got'ine Housing Society so that they can access the repairs they need.

"If we can get their houses assessed, we'll have a much broader idea of the conditions of more homes within the community so that when we start working with the NWT Housing Corporation we can tell them these are the conditions of the homes and this is the plan for how we want to address those issues."

Homeowners apply for the program through the society for emergency repairs, renovations and preventative maintenance. In the last two years of the program, the community has been able to improve safety in existing units by repairing doors and windows, and addressing significant issues like rotting flooring and steps, and installing emergency exits. A significant portion of their work orders involve responding to freeze-ups. 

Tobac said the community uses local workers for the work, and it's a source of pride for people whose homes are up for repair because the economic benefits stay local.

"There's many people that are very happy that our own young people are training to start learning how to maintain homes and are the ones actually working on their homes," Tobac said. 

Program is 'meaningful' for community

Arthur Tobac, who works for the K'asho Got'ine Housing Society, says an award celebrating the community for its efforts to research the condition of homes in Fort Good Hope is welcome recognition. (Yamoga Land Corporation)

Tobac said one of the crew members told him the work has brought him positivity and meaning.

"He's got a job that makes him happy and he's providing for his family," Tobac said.

"Those are the things that make it meaningful." 

In the fall of 2019, the community was selected for the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative and pursued the repair and maintenance program with a million dollar investment from the Yamoga Land Corporation. Each year a supply of lumber, insulation and drywall comes up by winter road. 

"Every year it seems to be, we sell the whole supply. Even this summer we sold everything."

This past summer they hired a permanent repair person who will be responsible for regular maintenance. 

The K'asho Got'ı̨nę Housing Society will use the $10,000 to do more home assessments. Previous assessments found outdated appliances that need replacing, such as furnaces and hot water heaters, safety needs to be addressed, such as fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, and sinks and plumbing in need of repair.