Netsilik MLA Emiliano Qirngnuq says constituents frequently ask him for assistance to obtain housing.
“It is very difficult to tell a young couple that they will likely be on a waiting list for many years. It is very painful to tell a mother that there are simply not enough resources to build enough new units to enable her to leave her overcrowded house,” said Qirngnuq, who added that job opportunities are scarce in his non-decentralized community so home ownership is not an option for many people. “Our government cannot solve the housing shortage on its own. I believe that there are other organizations that have the means to make a positive contribution, and that we must work together for the benefit of all of our people.”
He asked Housing Minister Patterk Netser in the legislative assembly on Thursday for an update on whether land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) is willing to assist in building new residences in the territory, an issue that Netser raised during the June sitting of the legislative assembly. He also asked whether Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) may be able to help.
“We support the Inuit organization, in this case ITK, who has been lobbying the federal government in terms of addressing the housing shortage throughout Nunavut or Inuit Nunangat. To date they haven’t reached out to us in terms of “We’ve found some money for you and we want to help address the housing issue.” To date, we haven’t heard from them… The Inuit organizations, I want to collaborate with them,” Netser said. “In the past when they were on the election campaign, when the NTI vice-president was there and he said he wanted to support housing. I haven’t heard anything back from him. I want to work collaboratively with NTI and with NHC.”
Qirngnuq confirmed with Netser that Taloyoak and Kugaaruk, the two communities that Qirngnuq represents as MLA, are in line to get 10 new units each in 2021-22 and Kugaruk will also get 10 in 2020-21.
Nunavut News asked NTI on Friday for comment on the issue but the organization declined.