Housing minister Paulie Chinna clarified what will happen with the GNWT’s portion of a federal housing fund, amid criticism for the program.
The Northwest Territories has been assigned $60 million out of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Housing Co-investment Fund. That is out of the more than $16 billion which is to be allocated throughout the program’s duration.
This money has not been assigned solely to the territorial government, Chinna emphasized in a statement. It is a pool of money for municipal governments, private organizations, charities and Indigenous governments, which they can apply for.
“First and foremost, we want to get housing on the ground as much as everyone else,” Chinna said. “We recognize the need to reduce the core housing need across the NWT, we also know that we cannot accomplish this on our own, we need our partners at the table to achieve this goal.”
There are two streams of funding that can be applied for, for newly constructed projects and for housing projects.
But the fund has come under criticism for having a confusing application process.
“We realize that the application process could be and should be better and I have pressed the federal government to make improvements, including speaking directly to my counterpart, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen about these processing times,” Chinna added. “As a result of these conversations, the CHMC has committed to cutting the process time for applications in half.”
A presentation on the fund was given to Indigenous leadership at the Northern Housing Summit held in Inuvik in April 2019.
The fund is part of the federal government’s National Housing Strategy, a 10-year plan that involves spending more than $55 billion to build around 125,000 new affordable housing units.
It’s a different fund from the one the City of Yellowknife is considering applying for. The Rapid Housing Initiative made $1 billion of federal money available, and aims to address the “urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians.”