Nunavik’s social housing agency responds to tenant complaints
“The KMHB has heard their message and we still strive to increase the level of satisfaction of our services"
Pledging to provide better service and communicate its policies more clearly, the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau says it has heard the concerns of tenants across Nunavik.
In an Oct. 8 statement, KMHB president Michael Cameron responded to rallies held in a number of Nunavik communities Oct. 3, where tenants protested recent evictions by the housing bureau and expressed frustrations with KMHB services.
“The KMHB has heard their message and we still strive to increase the level of satisfaction of our services,” Cameron said in the release.
“We heard concerns and realized that there are some misunderstandings of our policies,” he added. “The KMHB must and will improve its communications so that all tenants understand the policies of the KMHB and their obligations and responsibilities as tenants.”
Cameron clarified that it is the provincial government — and not the housing agency — that decides the rent scale in Nunavik and sets its yearly eight per cent increase.
But Cameron said that Quebec’s housing corporation, the SHQ, has agreed to review the region’s current rent scale — a review that the KMHB will be part of.
“Tenants have expressed that this sustained yearly rent increase is financially unbearable,” he said. “[This review] will strive to develop a rent scale that is fair and permits Nunavik tenants to share the same standard of living as other Quebec citizens.”
Cameron pointed to another “complex” and “misunderstood” process: Quebec’s eviction process, which allows the KMHB to collect unpaid rent and evict a tenant.
Tenants called to the Quebec Rental Board “are faced with a justice system that they do not understand and with limited assistance or information available to them in Inuttitut,” he said.
For that reason, the KMHB has cancelled this year’s hearing of the rental board, Cameron said, although that does not forgive the arrears of tenants who have not paid their rent.
“All KMHB tenants must pay their rent and respect their obligations,” he said. “It is important to understand that is it a matter of fairness to all tenants who do make the effort to pay their rent and for those 900 families waiting and dreaming of having a house.”
Evictions will continue as long as some tenants do not pay their rent, although the KMHB says it will review its methods and work to “minimize its negative effects.”
Some Nunavimmiut plan to hold a second protest in front of KMHB offices Oct. 15.