GNWT introduces new points system for public housing clients

Housing NWT has made changes to the points rating system the territorial housing agency uses to evaluate public housing clients.

The intention behind the rating system is that public housing applicants with the highest need for housing are prioritized. While the system itself hasn’t changed, Housing NWT has altered how points are allocated.

Now, victims of domestic violence will be at a higher priority, along with chronically homeless applicants. Time spent on the waitlist will also be recognized and added to the number of points for each candidate.


NWT residents who have fallen behind on rent before will no longer lose points. A press release from Housing NWT stated that it wants to make the arrears category “less punitive.” Applicants with previous arrears can receive points if they have successfully adhered to an arrears payment plan.

Points allocated for medical accommodation and disability must now be related to the applicant’s current housing situation.

Housing NWT says these changes follow feedback from the Council of Leaders’ housing working group, local housing organizations and regular MLAs’ Standing Committee on Social Development.

“Aligning the programs and policies of Housing NWT with its reinvigorated mission is critical,” said Paulie Chinna, the minister responsible for housing in the territory, referring to a process of “renewal” the agency has been following in recent years.

“Updating and modernizing the points rating system for public housing is one way Housing NWT is supporting people most in need, while ensuring a client-centred, transparent and fairly delivered public housing program.”


Housing NWT’s repair programs have also changed – including a shift from one large funding opportunity to multiple smaller grants and a limited application window – while a new two-year pilot program will support the start-up and operation of daycares in public housing.

For the most part, public housing clients were previously not allowed to run private businesses in public housing.

But in communities throughout the Dehcho, such as Wrigley, Nahanni Butte, Jean Marie River and Sambaa K’e, no market rentals nor licensed early learning and childcare programs currently exist – so Housing NWT is making an exception.

The new points system went into effect on April 1. Those currently on the public housing waiting list will need to submit additional documentation to qualify for any new points with this change.