After 13 months of waiting, a family currently living in a tent with a baby will finally get a home after an exchange between Nanakput MLA Jackie Jacobson and Housing Minster Paulie Chinna.
Jacobson used his question period to highlight the plight of the family, who were unable to move into a house that was readily available for them.
“I know today there’s a unit available,” he said. “They’re first on the waiting list. They don’t owe no funds to the housing authority. Can the minister commit today that they will be getting that unit? They are the first on the list.”
Chinna said the unit was repaired and had needed work done on the water tank, which delayed getting it ready for human habitation, but was now ready.
She the said she would work with the board of directors of Housing NWT and look at the allocation.
That wasn’t good enough for Jacobson, who once again asked Chinna to commit to putting the family in the home immediately.
“The minister has the authority to make that decision right now,” he said. “Don’t need to be talking to anybody but herself in regards to that.
“The young couple has a young baby living in a tent frame in the community of Paulatuk. It’s -20C.”
Reiterating the family in question was first on the list and was “potentially next to be up for allocation,” Chinna stressed she still wanted to speak to the board. She added she would follow up with Jacobson after speaking to the Housing NWT board of directors.
Jacobson said he had been pushing to get the family in the house for over a year and threatened to table documents detailing what the family was going through.
“I’ve been waiting for the minister to deal with this for the last 13 months. That baby was one month old. Now we’re at -20C.
“A decision has to be made. Everything goes downhill. She’s got a minister’s notepad that says minister’s directive. All she’s got to do is write (the unit) is to be given to this couple, it’s going to be done. Will the minister take the initiative today to do it?”
Noting she did not want to see “this circumstance extended to something that is quite severe,” Chinna said she would put political pressure on Housing NWT to ensure the two-bedroom unit would go to the family.
She added the family has been on the waiting list for several years.
Jacobson asked the minister to repeat herself to ensure that was a “yes.”
“I will be following up with the board and I did say yes,” said Chinna.