But the changes come at a price for some homeowners: the agency will limit eligibility for its largest program by dollar value, Major Home Repair.
At the moment, that program offers up to $50,000 per applicant for repairs related to health and safety. Major Home Repair will now be available only to seniors.
Younger homeowners will need to use other programs, for example by proving work is urgently required to qualify for a maximum $15,000 grant, or by using the Preventative Maintenance program, which caps out at $5,000.
In a press release, the NWT government said the changes mean “enabling more funding to be distributed to the other repair programs while supporting one of the territory’s most vulnerable populations – seniors.”
Housing NWT says money previously allocated to Major Home Repair will bring caps for the Emergency Repair, Seniors Ageing in Place and Fuel Tank Replacement programs up from $10,000 to $15,000, while increasing the Preventative Maintenance cap from $3,000 to $5,000.
The territory said the changes reflect the increasing cost of home repairs in the NWT and a hope that, by requiring residents to focus on small, preventative repairs, major issues can be avoided. If this fails, the territory stated, there is now more emergency funding available.
“These changes strengthen the GNWT’s focus on preventative maintenance and emergency repairs so that homeowners can potentially avoid the need for major repairs in the future,” said a Housing NWT spokesperson.
In December, Housing NWT announced the Emergency Repair program will no longer require a co-payment from residents. All other housing programs continue to require a 10-percent co-pay for anyone making more than $60,000 per year.