NEWS: Nunavik December 06, 2017 - 8:00 am

Survey says Nunavik needs 813 more housing units

With more Nunavimmiut living alone, housing bureau says it will look at redistribution of tenants

SARAH ROGERS

Nunavik’s latest housing survey results reveal the region is in need of 813 additional units to accommodate its growing population.

That’s down slightly from the region’s last survey in 2015, which pegged the housing shortage at 1,030 units.

The Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau, which manages the region’s social housing stock, surveyed 3,061 households earlier this year. The organization found that certain homes are overcrowded, while others have empty bedrooms.

For that reason, the housing bureau said it will look at the possibility, and impacts, of relocating certain households to more appropriately-sized units, the organization told Kativik Regional Government councillors meeting in Kuujjuaq last week.

The survey also found that more tenants are living alone; 492 individuals live on their own in Nunavik, suggesting the region could use more one-bedroom units.

Akulivik, Kangiqsualujjuaq and Tasiujaq have the biggest housing deficits of the region’s 14 communities. Akulivik and Kangiqsualujjuaq are also the communities with the highest number of occupants per home, along with Inukjuak and Salluit.

Nunavik’s population has grown from about 12,090 in 2011 to 13,188 in 2016.

Earlier this year, the region heard it would receive 66 new public housing units in 2018, slated to be constructed in six different communities.

Then in the fall, additional funding was approved for 44 more units for 2018, though neither the housing bureau nor KRG officials could explain the delay.

A tripartite agreement between the federal and provincial governments and Nunavik 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.

But many Nunavimmiut tenants are catching a break on their monthly rent cheques. After years of negotiation with Quebec, the province finally signed off on a new rent scale for social housing tenants in the region this year.

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.

The housing bureau said that, so far, 1,700 rebates have been processed.

Since the beginning of November, more than 600 tenants in the region are paying a monthly rent of $101.