During his visit to Iqaluit, Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal held a public appearance alongside Nunavut premier P.J Akeeagok, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) President Aluki Kotierk and Iqaluit mayor Kenny Bell to reaffirm the federal government’s partnership with them to work on Nunavut housing.

A portion of $845 million earmarked in the April 7 federal budget for housing in Inuit Nunangat will be coming to the territory in addition to a $60 million “down-payment” toward Nunavut housing over two years.

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“Our government will continue working with partners like NTI, the Government of Nunavut and mayor and the City of Iqaluit to address important issues of housing availability and quality which disproportionately affects Northerners,” said Vandal.

All levels of government

Kotierk referred to a letter from Vandal last May, addressed to her and Akeeagok asking to form a working group on Nunavut housing as an example on how a real partnership can help address long-standing issues impacting Nunavummiut.

“I was very encouraged by that and we’re working in a tripartite fashion in relation to housing,” she said, adding that tripartate partnerships have been “very effective to be able to address the needs we have in Nunavut.”

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Akeeagok expressed his optimism on what he has described as an important collaborative effort.

“I was really pleased right from the beginning as a new government to involve Inuit Organizations and regular members. Our partnership with NTI is so crucial,” said Akeeagok.

“It’s exactly these very important issues such as infrastructure, the housing issue, where we’re going to have to pull our limited resources to address long-standing issues.”

Bell, who is also the president of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, added that “having us all work on housing for our citizens across the territory, not just Iqaluit, is extremely important for all of us.”

Vandal echoed this emphasis on partnership, who says the input of Nunavummiut is valuable in addressing housing needs in the territory.

“Part of our journey is to listen to people on the ground who far better understand their needs.”

While there isn’t a clear end to Nunavut’s housing crisis, Akeeagok said that “it’s going to happen through these partnerships.”

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