Public housing in crisis: report

The future of housing in the NWT is in jeopardy unless the federal government steps up its funding, according to a new report.

Nick Falvo, a doctoral candidate at Ottawa's Carleton University, has undertaken a study of homelessness and affordable housing in the NWT in partnership with the Centre for Northern Families.

"If the federal government does not announce new funding for housing soon, many of the housing units that exist today in the NWT will disappear," according to Falvo's report.

Based on a number of criteria, Falvo found that, compared to the rest of Canada, housing in Yellowknife is "a bit worse" and housing in small NWT communities is "much worse."

Falvo said the territorial government spends 25 times more on housing than the average Canadian province. He attributed this to the pervasiveness of poverty and the high cost of hydro and construction. The funding currently provided by the federal government to the NWT Housing Corporation (NWTHC) is inadequate, said Falvo. There are more than 400 households, or more 1,000 people, on the waiting list for public housing in the NWT.

Historically, the federal government has led in building social housing but it backed out of this commitment in the early 1990s, said Falvo. Since then, funding commitments have been short-term or one-off.

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Publication Date: 
November 28, 2011
Journal Name: 
Northern News Services Online
NT, Canada