Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit July 10, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Celebrating Nunavut Day by building a home

Nunavut Day events raise $26,000 for Habitat for Humanity charity home

STEVE DUCHARME
Showing off traditional clothes on Nunavut Day in Iqaluit. (PHOTOS BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Showing off traditional clothes on Nunavut Day in Iqaluit. (PHOTOS BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Iqalungmiut strain to see whether their ball will drop into the hole first in the annual Nunavut Day golf ball drop held by Habitat for Humanity. There were two ball drops with each winner receiving $10,000.
Iqalungmiut strain to see whether their ball will drop into the hole first in the annual Nunavut Day golf ball drop held by Habitat for Humanity. There were two ball drops with each winner receiving $10,000.
A little bit of Ottawa in Iqaluit for Nunavut Day: staff hand out free Beavertails—deep fried pastries—the southern sister to northern bannock.
A little bit of Ottawa in Iqaluit for Nunavut Day: staff hand out free Beavertails—deep fried pastries—the southern sister to northern bannock.
Do you like it spicy? People line up to taste entries in Habitat for Humanity's annual chili cooking contest.
Do you like it spicy? People line up to taste entries in Habitat for Humanity's annual chili cooking contest.

The weather was miserable and the venue location changed but nobody seemed to mind, July 9, as they crammed into Iqaluit’s Inuksuk High School for good food, music and games: commemorating the seventeenth annual Nunavut Day.

And as yellow, red and white painted faces swirled through Inuksuk’s packed gymnasium, with a beavertail in hand or a bowl of chili, many of the day’s activities paid the way for Habitat for Humanity’s latest charity home for one lucky family in the community.

Clarence Synard, a local Habitat for Humanity board member, told Nunatsiaq News that Nunavut Day golf ball drops, putting challenges and chili contests raised more than $26,000.

“We’ve been very fortunate this year,” he said, explaining that a strong outpouring of support from local businesses and the community made the day’s collection particularly strong.

That’s despite weather raining out the scheduled location for the Nunavut Day events near the four-corners intersection in downtown Iqaluit, forcing organizers to relocate on short notice to their fallback site at the high school.

Synard says teams of volunteer tradespeople are travelling to Iqaluit through the summer with hopes of completing the charity’s fifth home, located on a lot donated by the City of Iqaluit in Apex.

“We’re hoping this week, if the weather cooperates, we’ll put the roof on,” he said.

Tiivi Qiatsuk, Caroline Ipeelie-Qiatsuk and their three sons were selected for the home through a Habitat for Humanity screening process earlier this year.

One of their sons, Troy, could be spotted around the gym that day, with a red Canadian maple leaf and Nunavut inuksuk painted in red across his face.

The family helped to organize the games and golf ball drop for the charity with the proceeds going toward the estimated $450,000 price tag for the house.

“Its hard building in the North. You have logistical issues when you do it on the Habitat platform, when so much is volunteer [based],” Synard said.

“It makes it that much more difficult, but it makes it that much more satisfying.”

Nunavut suffers some of the worst housing shortages in Canada with an estimated 3,000 outstanding units needed to fix the crises, the Nunavut Housing Corp. president, Terry Audla, told a Senate committee in Ottawa last year.

More than half of Nunavummiut live in social housing, and 38 per cent of those tenants live in overcrowded conditions, according to statistics provided to the Senate committee.

And population growth is erasing any gains made by the NHC on those roughly 3,000 units currently needed.

The housing corp.’s 2015-16 annual report said the Nunavut government spent $54.2 million on public housing construction that year and has built nearly 250 public housing units across the territory over the past three years.

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