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Housing NWT establishes permanent Indigenous housing forum

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation's Chief Drygeese Centre, in Dettah, is seen in July 2020. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

On June 9, Housing NWT held the inaugural meeting of the NWT Housing Forum in Yellowknife.

The group is designed to be a vehicle for Indigenous governments to weigh in on Housing NWT policies and programs, advocate for changes and improvements, collaborate with each other, and share their own housing-related plans.

It replaces the Council of Leaders housing working group, which was first introduced in 2021.

“The working group’s sole task was to participate in a review of Housing NWT’s programs and policies,” said a spokesperson for the territorial government.

“It was a short-term structure established in June 2021 for a task which has now concluded. The NWT Housing Forum is permanent and is co-chaired by Housing NWT and an Indigenous government – currently the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.”



Speaking in legislature in late May, housing minister Paulie Chinna revealed that the idea for a permanent, collaborative body on housing to succeed the Council of Leaders housing working group was a consensus recommendation from the entire group. 

“The working group told us clearly that it wanted to see more permanent venues to allow NWT governments to collaborate and share information on housing,” she said.

“We listened, and the result is the NWT Housing Forum, a body co-chaired by an Indigenous government and Housing NWT.”

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s term as co-chair will last two years, after which a new co-chair will be chosen by all all Indigenous government participants.

The Forum will hold four virtual meetings a year and organize a face-to-face symposium with broader participation every two years.

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation did not respond to a request for comment on their role as chair.