Federal election candidates Kelvin Kotchilea, representing the NDP, and Liberal Michael McLeod brought their plans regarding NWT housing issues to light on Sept 14.

Kotchilea wants to hear from communities and bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous housing.

“I’m hearing from a lot of people in the territory who are unable to find a place they can afford to live,” he stated. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the housing crisis for Indigenous people has become even worse. Indigenous families are 11 times more likely to use a homeless shelter.

“As part of our plan to undertake the work of reconciliation, we have a plan to work with local communities (to) address the specific problems in the territory.”

Significant focus is being put on “co-operatives and partnerships with Indigenous governments” to help achieve this.

“[Recognizing] the higher cost of living in northern provinces and territories as part of our housing plan and more,” said Kotchilea, who is aiming to implement housing measures within the first 100 days after the election, should he be triumphant at the polls.

“We understand that we can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to fix the housing crisis across the country,” he continued.

If elected, Kotchilea plans to visit NWT communities to identify their current housing climate/situation.

He insisted that his plan goes beyond “purchasing homes, setting them up and saying, ‘Here you go.’” Instead, he hopes to get people involved at the community level, get youth involved in trades and construction and get qualified people involved in the building process.

“We are looking at new units and maintaining (as well as) repairing units in the community,” said Kotchilea.

Liberal candidate Michael McLeod also released his NWT plan titled ‘A Home. For Everyone.’

“Across all 33 communities, housing is the number one issue,” said McLeod. “We have invested unprecedented levels into local housing priorities, like working with the GNWT to invest the $60 million Co-Investment Fund and $25 million from Budget 2021 and allocating over $100 million towards housing and infrastructure for Indigenous governments across the Northwest Territories.

“We know more work is needed, and we are ready to build on our record.”

If re-elected, the Liberal government will move forward with a three-part housing plan. The program will seek to help renters become owners and save for a down payment faster, reduce the monthly costs of mortgages and double the Home Buyers’ Tax Credit to help young Canadians purchase their first home sooner.

According to McLeod’s statement, this is projected to save a family buying their first home up to $30,000.

The Liberal government will also look to “build, preserve, or repair 1.4 million homes in four years to help increase the supply of homes available to Canadians, create jobs and grow the middle class.” This includes co-developing an urban, rural, and Northern Indigenous housing strategy with an “initial allocation of $300 million” and permanently increasing the National Housing Co-investment Fund to more than double its current allocation. It was introduced in 2018 with a $13.2 billion bottom line.

Lastly, focus will be put on creating a home buyers’ bill of rights to make the process of buying a home fairer, more open and transparent and ensure homes are available for people and families. The plan is looking to include a ban on blind bidding, establishing a legal right to a home inspection and banning new foreign ownership for two years.

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