Housing minister agrees, the N.W.T. is in a housing 'crisis'

Paulie Chinna, the minister responsible for the N.W.T. Housing Corporation, called the current situation 'unacceptable.'

Paulie Chinna, minister responsible for housing, called situation 'unacceptable'

Paulie Chinna is the N.W.T.’s minister responsible for the N.W.T. Housing Corporation and the minister responsible for homelessness. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

The state of housing in the N.W.T. is now routinely referred to as a "crisis," even by the new housing minister. 

Paulie Chinna, the minister responsible for the N.W.T. Housing Corporation, also calls it "unacceptable." 

"I do come from a smaller community," Chinna said. "I do see the homelessness, and I see how it affects our people at the grassroots level."

In the legislature this week, several MLAs brought forward stories of constituents in need. 

Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty wanted to know what's being done about the almost 40 boarded up or burnt units in Behchoko.

"None of these units are livable at this time, not to mention that they're an eyesore in my community," he said, adding that some have been there for 10 to 15 years.

Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty said boarded up houses like this one are still a common sight in Behchoko. (Curtis Mandeville/CBC)

"There are as many people on the Yellowknife Housing Authority waiting list as there are units available, about 350," said Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green. "About a quarter of those who are waiting are seniors."

The new government included fixing housing among its 22 priorities for the next four years. 

In the legislature Thursday, Chinna committed to lobbying her cabinet colleagues to spend more money on new housing in the next territorial budget. 

But it won't be easy finding the money. In the past, the N.W.T. Housing Corporation has been careful to increase its housing stock because of the ongoing maintenance costs that come with new units. 

And with the N.W.T.'s grim fiscal outlook, new money will be in short supply.


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