Family forced to relocate to smaller unit with heating issues, says Ulukhaktok woman

The local housing association forced a family out of their home and into another one with issues, says a woman from Ulukhaktok, N.W.T.

'It's a lot smaller, a lot older and has more problems,' says Laura Akoakhion

Laura Akoakhion says the Ulukhaktok Housing Association forced her family to relocate into a home that was not ready to move into. In this submitted photo, a wet section along the wall shows chipped paint and what appears to be mould growing. (Submitted by Laura Akoakhion)

Laura Akoakhion lived in the same house in Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., her whole life, but says the local housing association recently forced her family out of their home and into another one with issues.

"We got a letter in the mail that they had to move us to a different unit that's more suitable for us," said Akoakhion.

Akoakhion lived at the home with her mom and her two young kids up until October.

Akoakhion said they never asked the Ulukhaktok Housing Association to be relocated, and were happy with their current house.

She said she doesn't feel like they were given much of a choice when it came to moving. They were moved from a two-bedroom home to one with three bedrooms.

Akoakhion says she has ongoing heating issues in the new home and feels cold air through the window on a windy night. (Submitted by Laura Akoakhion)

"But it's a lot smaller, a lot older and has more problems," said Akoakhion. "It was [a] pretty awful feeling to move into a house that wasn't worked on or cleaned properly."

She said the unit wasn't ready for them when they arrived.

"There was a lot of dirt in the house."

Also, since the unit is smaller than their previous one, the family had to store a lot of their goods outside or in a shack.

Akoakhion said that there is fuel odour that comes from the kitchen area, that she said the housing association told them it was fixed.

The family still continues to smell it, she said.

Ongoing heating issues

A major concern, says Akoakhion, is the ongoing problem with heat in the new home.

"The windows, they're practically frozen now all around the windowsill. You can feel the cold air on [a] windy night."

In one of the bedrooms, Akoakhion says there's 'old water damage' on the wall that gets frozen during the day and thaws out by the evening. (Submitted by Laura Akoakhion)

In one of the bedrooms, Akoakhion says there's "old water damage" on the wall that gets frozen during the day and thaws out by evening.

"[The housing association] just left it and said they worked on it."

She said she suspects there is mould in that area.

Akoakhion brought the matter forward to both the local housing association as well as the NWT Housing Corporation in Yellowknife, but has seen very little progress so far.

Housing Corp. says it moves people in 'rare instances'

The NWT Housing Corporation says all of its public housing units are "assessed for health and safety before residents are moved in."

Laura Akoakhion, right, with her mother and one of her children. She says she would rather go back to her childhood home. (Submitted by Laura Akoakhion)

"In rare instances the NWTHC may move residents from public housing units under a few circumstances, including suitability issues, such as changes in family size resulting in tenants being either under-accommodated or over-accommodated," wrote Cara Bryant, a communications advisor for the corporation, in an email response.

She wrote that any concerns by residents are taken seriously.

Akoakhion said that they are currently paying the same amount as they did at their past place, and would happily move back to her childhood home if given the option.

"We were perfectly fine living in that two bedroom that we lived in my entire life," said Akoakhion.

"I want them to think about the future people who they are making move. Make sure it's suitable for the family, not just move them from a two bedroom to a three bedroom. They have to think how much of space a family needs."