Is it time for Nunavummiut to build their own homes again?

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Discussion over Nunavut’s housing shortage turned to reflection on the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) when Nunavut was part of the NWT.

It is great to see people having their own homes, and independent from government. photo courtesy of the Legislative Assembly

Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main asked Housing Minister Patterk Netser last week how it was possible that so many homes were built during the 1980s and 1990s. Netser attributed it to HAP, whereby aspiring homeowners ordered housing materials through the government and some expertise was supplied, but those homeowners invested a great degree of “sweat equity,” which reduced the overall cost of the house.

“There are many homeowners that benefited from that HAP program,” Netser said in the legislative assembly. “I benefited from this HAP program and it worked really well back then, and I do not see any reason why it should not work good again today.”

Because some Nunavummiut would be able to build their homes, it would free up more social housing units for others, Netser said.

“I am an example. I rented a social housing back in the ’70s into the ’80s, and when I built my HAP house I got out of the books of the government and I have been independent since then,” the housing minister said. “It is great to see people having their own homes, and independent from government. This is what I want to see.”

Main said he’d like to see action towards furthering the return of the Housing Assistance Program.

“I would really like to see that too because it really benefitted people in those days and people still talk about it,” said Main. “Next year when we talk about this again hopefully there will be some proposals, funding proposals for it.”

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