Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik June 12, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Nunavik gets 66 new public housing units for 2018

But the region still hopes more federal housing money will come through

SARAH ROGERS
An Umiujaq street at dusk. Six Nunavik communities will share 66 new social housing units in 2018, although regional organizations hope to see more funding for housing by the end of the year. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
An Umiujaq street at dusk. Six Nunavik communities will share 66 new social housing units in 2018, although regional organizations hope to see more funding for housing by the end of the year. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

UMIUJAQ—In 2018 Nunavik will receive 66 new public housing units, slated to be constructed in six different communities, Kativik Regional Government councillors heard in Umiujaq earlier this month.

The units’ construction flows from Nunavik’s tri-partite agreement with the provincial and federal governments which fund public housing construction in the region.

A mix of one- and two-bedroom homes will be built next year in the following communities:

• Aupaluk—eight;

• Inukjuak—14;

• Kangiqsujuaq—four;

• Kuujjuaq—16;

• Puvirnituq—12; and,

• Salluit—12.

The tri-partite agreement normally provides housing over a three- to five-year period, but ongoing negotiations have forced Nunavik’s leadership to settle for one-year agreements over the short-term.

Nunavik still wants Ottawa to pay for a catch-up program to help alleviate Nunavik’s public housing shortage, a need that’s been estimated at more than 1,000 units.

Sixty-six units is fewer than the region has recently seen, the KRG’s assistant director general Frédéric Gagné told regional councillors—that’s because more public housing money had flowed previously through Quebec’s Plan Nord and its pledge to build new public housing.

Nunavik’s latest housing allocations are based on the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau’s 2015 housing survey that showed which communities in the region have the largest housing needs.

The survey noted that there were more than 300 Nunavimmiut on a waiting list for public housing.

The KMHB has launched a new housing survey for 2017 which will guide future housing allocations.

While negotiations on housing continue to drag on, Nunavik’s leadership said it has made headway on one issue.

Almost three years after the Quebec government said it would reconsider the public housing rent for Nunavik tenants, officials on both sides agreed on a revised rent scale for the region earlier this spring.

“We’re finally getting close to something,” said Gagné, noting the provincial cabinet is expected to sign off on the new agreement shortly.

“We’re hoping it will be approved in the next couple of weeks.”

Under the new agreement, Nunavimmiut tenants will see annual rent increases drop from eight per cent a year to six per cent, retroactive to July 1, 2016, and until July 1, 2019.

Gagné offered an example of what the new decrease could mean for Nunavimmiut: A family of four living in a three-bedroom unit with a $45,000 income would see its monthly rent drop from $449 to $357.

“That’s a savings of $92 a month,” he said.

Once the new scale is approved, KMHB tenants will have 120 days to apply for the rent reduction by bringing their most recent notice of assessment into their local KHMB office.

The KMHB said tenants can bring their 2015 and 2016 assessments into their local housing office anytime to find out if they’re eligible for the reduction.

In the meantime, the housing bureau will continue to apply the current rent scale.

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