Calling it the largest federal housing effort in the NWT in recent memory, politicians revealed detailed plans to build and repair hundreds of homes Monday.

The $60 million so-called “Northern carve-out” of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) National Housing Co-Investment Fund will help the GNWT and Indigenous governments build and repair housing units across the territory.

Paulie Chinna, minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation said in a press release about $25.5 million would be used by the NWTHC to build 126 new affordable housing units.

Dan Vandal, minister of Northern Affairs and NWT MP Michael McLeod said the balance, about $34.5 million, would support “Indigenous governments and organizations to create 66 affordable homes through the repair and new construction of mixed-income, mixed-tenure, and mixed-use housing.”

More details on the plan are expected to be released at a virtual news conference Monday morning. An embargoed announcement included rough details on where the new NWTHC units would be built. Most of the 17 communities included in the plan are set to get four new housing units, a handful are to get two. Behchoko is to see six new units in two projects.

Communities expected to build four new NWTHC affordable housing units include Kakisa, Fort Resolution, Fort Providence, Lutsel K’e, Tuktoyaktuk, Tsiigehtchic, Fort Liard and Deline.

Click here to see the news release and the complete list.

“Our government understands that safe, quality, and affordable housing is a priority for Northerners,” Vandal said in the release. “This is something I have heard consistently. I’m confident the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and its partners will select and build projects that have long-term, positive impacts on these communities and their residents.”

Chinna said the funding would help the GNWT fulfill a commitment by the 19th Legislative Assembly to build 100 new affordable housing units.

“The GNWT will continue to seek opportunities for investment to help address the significant and urgent housing needs of NWT residents,” Chinna said.

The release indicated funding would be released soon enough for 60 units to be built during the upcoming construction season.

It said Indigenous governments are expected to develop six projects with their $34.5 million.

The “carve-out” from the national housing fund was intended to recognize the unique challenges of building in the North. But NWT proponents are welcome to apply to the general fund. 

For example in October 2020, $33.7 million was announced for the construction of the Avens Pavilion in Yellowknife, which includes 102 units of safe and affordable housing for seniors.

According to the release the $60 million allotment represents “a historical territorial-federal partnership and represents the largest single-year housing investment in NWT by any federal government in recent history.”

Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. He should be at least six feet away from you at all times.

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