Where Fort Good Hope’s housing program plans to go next

Fort Good Hope’s K’asho Got’ine Housing Society spent time this week explaining to NWT government leaders how its unique housing strategy is working.

An “all of government” approach to homelessness has frequently come up throughout the winter sitting at the NWT legislature. An outline of the territory’s new homelessness strategy is expected in April.

But the K’asho Got’ine Housing Society says it can already share how a holistic strategy to address homelessness looks.


The society has been recognized nationally in the past two years for work that seeks to bring control of housing within the Sahtu community.

The latest plan developed by the society seeks to address needs across the housing spectrum by providing a men’s transitional home, a safe home for women and children at risk of domestic violence, semi-independent housing, a sweat equity and rent-to-own home ownership program, and a repair and maintenance program.

The K’asho Got’ine strategy also incorporates social programming. The hope is that by accommodating people struggling with active addictions and helping members in recovery reintegrate into the community, the society can address some of the long-term factors that lead to homelessness in Fort Good Hope.

“Addictions and housing insecurity are very closely tied,” said Edwin Erutse, president of Ne’Rahten Development Ltd, a firm in Fort Good Hope. Erutse said the strategy’s strengths are its second-stage addiction options and housing-first approach.

Some of the strategy’s elements are already in motion: the Kádúyı́le Men’s Transition Home opened in 2021, repair and maintenance projects are being carried out at various residences, and a pilot version of the women and children’s safe home is anticipated this summer.


A key part of delivering on the strategy will be establishing concurrent programming that fosters skilled trades and construction expertise in Fort Good Hope.

“We are working to support education, local capacity, strong governance, and community involvement in everything we do,” said housing society director Arthur Tobac.

A training facility, designed in partnership with Taylor Architecture Group, has made CMHC’s federal funding shortlist. The facility aims to both educate community members and provide up to four housing units a year.

The local advantage

While high costs of building materials continue to be a challenge, Erutse and Tobac said their society envisages measures that can make it easier for Fort Good Hope to bear that burden.


“Housing could be made more affordable by removing the cost of importing workers and instead employing local,” said Erutse.

“This could mean millions of federal dollars can actually remain in Fort Good Hope and improve the local quality of life.

“The objectives are for us to offer year-round local employment [and] to take control of the housing stock to ensure that housing is appropriate for residents, well-built, and maintained.”

Incorporating has allowed the K’asho Got’ine Housing Society to pursue independent funding options and hire project management firms and architects.

Referring to territorial housing agency Housing NWT – which is developing a new outlook of its own and has recognized the need for local leadership and trade training – Erutse said time is needed for residents to rebuild trust and take advantage of its programming.

“Arrears, no insurance, no land tenure, co-payments, bureaucracy, traumatic history with the corporation – all these are reasons why community members prefer not to access their programs,” said Erutse. “Relationship-building must continue between our community and Housing NWT.”

Ultimately, Erutse said, the community wants to solve its housing crisis with a foundation of local knowledge, participation and guidance.

“We don’t want to blame anyone any more,” he said. “We want to partner, we want to work together with other to see how we can fix this.

“Building this trades training centre is just one piece of the puzzle, and the big picture is developing our local knowledge and building local opportunities.”