Dehcho calls for ‘independent assessment’ of Fort Simpson housing

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The Office of the Grand Chief of the Dehcho First Nations is calling for an independent review of how housing is being managed in the region, following reports last week of the NWT Housing Corporation’s firing of the Fort Simpson Housing Authority and how bedbug complaints are being treated in several public housing units.

The First Nations government based in Liidlii Kue/Fort Simpson sent out a news release on Monday morning stating that more clarity and accountability to the people of the Dehcho is needed based on last week’s revelations and the differing accounts between the NWTHC and the FSHA on both issues.

Specifically, the government points to the disbanding of the local housing authority as continued “overreaching into local decision making” and called claims that the NWTHC has “failed to support treatment for bedbug infestation and has denied the problem’s existence” as “troubling.”

The Dehcho news release stated that “if the claims are true, it shows a failure of the Housing Corporation to ensure adequate and suitable housing for the residents of the Dehcho.”

The Dehcho news release stated that the First Nations government may need to deal with housing issues themselves.

“The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and the Fort Simpson Housing Authority have differing accounts on these events. The public deserves to know the truth. Housing is (a) critical issue and is closely tied to public health and wellness. It is extremely important for our people. That is why the Dehcho First Nations demands an independent assessment in the events surrounding the housing authority’s board’s disbandment and the manager’s firing.”

More to come …

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Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Working in Yellowknife, he covers education-based stories and general news but has also taken other beats in the past, including city hall and entertainment. He is a champion of the printed word and the importance of newspapers. As a board member of the United Way NWT and Rotary True North, he believes in the importance of civic engagement and community building. He spends his spare time with his boxer Sharona. Simon can be reached at (867) 766-8295 and editorial@nnsl.com.