NDP Indigenous housing strategy within first 100 days in office

A headshot of Kotchilea. (Supplied by Kelvin Kotchilea.)
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The NDP says they will develop an Indigenous led housing strategy within their first 100 days in office if they win the upcoming election.

The plan would be fully costed and help close the gap between Indigenous people and the rest of the population, for both those living rurally and in the cities.

NWT candidate Kelvin Kotchilea presented the plan today, saying that his focus would be on working with communities in the territory.

This means getting more NWT residents involved in construction and working on new housing projects rather than having contractors from the south do the work, he said in an interview with MyTrueNorthNow.com.

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“How do you train people from the community to diversify?” he said. “Those are things we can work with, as well as training people from the communities to become electricians, plumbers, carpenters, so that they can take care of the housing situation at a local level.”

Kotchilea added there can’t be a one size fits all to housing and said the NDP plan would focus more on specific funding for the NWT — including negotiating with the GNWT “to determine level of matching funds to maximize impact of investment.”

The NDP recently released their fully costed platform, the last party to do so, with over $200 billion in new spending over the next five years, according to a CBC report.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has faced questions about if his plan is affordable. Singh said the plan’s higher spending totals would be covered by new taxes on the wealthy and corporations, but did acknowledge there was some uncertainty about the projections, according to the same CBC report.

Liberal candidate Michael McLeod released his party’s plan, which included a home buyers credit for people looking to stop renting and a promise to build 1.4 million homes across the country in the next four years.

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McLeod also touted the Liberal’s past funding of housing projects.

Housing funds have gotten criticism from NWT politicians in the past for being too complicated and having too many restrictions.

Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty said in February that the criteria put on the Reaching Home funding — which was intended to support homeless people during the pandemic — by the federal government meant investing in housing projects wasn’t feasible.

“The federal government’s creating policy from the ivory tower of Ottawa is a bit how I see this funding working,” said Alty. “They have very strict directives that you can use it for this funding, but you can’t use it for this — it’s time sensitive, there’s no opportunity to roll funding over.”

But McLeod said a working group was being developed to deal with those complaints.

“We have had some good discussion around the cumbersome process that people have complained about,” said McLeod.

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