The federal government is committing $45 million to build 101 new homes in six Nunavut communities through the Rapid Housing Initiative, it was announced March 4.

The new units will be built in Kimmirut, Kugaaruk, Pond Inlet, Naujaat, Sanirajak and in Iqaluit’s Joamie Court and Tundra Ridge areas. Homes will be prioritized for vulnerable women and children, as well as those who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless

Federal Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen, Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal and the territorial minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation Lorne Kusugak made the announcement.

In terms of when these new homes will be built, the usual turnaround time for Rapid Housing Initiative homes is 12 months, said Hussen. However, due to Nunavut’s logistical challenges it could be longer than that.

“These projects will do a lot of good,” said Hussen, speaking from Toronto, noting the benefits it will bring to families in particular. “These projects also built on our recent investments t0 support 670 home and households in Nunavut through the Canada-Nunavut Housing Benefit.”

“Everyone in Canada deserves a place to call home, no matter where they live,” said Vandal, speaking virtually from Winnipeg.

Kusugak thanked the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for its continued support for housing in the territory.

“We hope this funding signifies Canada’s continued support for Nunavummiut,” said Kusugak. ‘This new funding will help cover or share the costs to provide 101 units.”

Kusugak added that the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on construction projects in the territory, and this new funding will help overcome that.

“The Government of Nunavut intends to put these funds to good use during our construction season,” he said.

While the minster is happy to see new funding, Kusugak estimates Nunavut would need about 3,000 new houses to address the territory’s housing crisis.

Following the March 4 announcement, Nunavut MP Lori Idlout said the federal announcement doesn’t go far enough in addressing the housing needs of Nunavummiut.

“People in my riding of Nunavut are often forced to live in overcrowded dilapidated houses because of a lack of supply and high cost of rent. Despite the Liberal’s promises to address this housing crisis, six years later and Nunavummiut are no better off,” said Idlout.

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