NWTHC addresses bed bug issue in Fort Simpson; makes changes

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The NWT Housing Corporation says a proactive approach has been taken to address concerns related to bed bugs in public housing in Fort Simpson after recent findings.

Maintenance staff from the Fort Simpson Housing Authority, the NWTHC’s contractual agent that delivers housing services in the area, conducted inspections and determined that at least six units are showing signs of bed bugs. They determined that the tenants were unaware and that immediate action was being taken to treat these units.

Minister Alfred Moses is said to have reached out to community leadership in Fort Simpson to discuss possible concerns and indicated that an Administrator has been appointed to bring the Authority’s operations back to an acceptable standard, after which, a new manager will be appointed and a full board appointed.

The NWTHC notes the move was necessary to re-establish sound financial practices and controls that were identified in a recent independent audit of the Authority as being compromised. They added that the remaining two board members and manager were relieved of their duties.

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In consultation with the Department of Health and Social Services, the NWTHC state they intend to hold a workshop in Fort Simpson for technical staff from Local Housing Organizations in other communities to receive training on the best practices regarding bed bug eradication.

“Bed bugs have been an issue in some communities in the NWT for many years and best practices for eradicating them are well established.”

Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services stated that the workshop will build the knowledge base of technical staff so that any future bed bug infestations can also be dealt with in a proactive and effective manner.

“Eliminating bed bugs can be challenging if the infestation is extensive or involves complex building structures. The Environmental Health Unit from the DHSS will continue to provide advice to the NWTHC to support them in addressing this problem.”

Public housing tenants are advised that if they notice bed bugs in their unit, they are encouraged to contact their LHO immediately so that treatments can begin as soon as possible.

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