Dehcho
Housing

‘Back on track,’ Fort Simpson housing authority to get new board


It’s just over a year since the NWT Housing Corporation dissolved the local authority in Fort Simpson over allegations it was failing to do its job, mismanaged, and losing money.

At the time, an administrator was put in place and worked with an independent accounting firm to address areas where the local housing authority was failing.

According to documents provided to Cabin Radio in July 2019, the operational deficit for the year ending March 31, 2019 was a little more than $400,000.

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Tom Williams, president of the territory’s housing corporation, says progress has been made in Fort Simpson in the past year. A manager for the housing authority was hired in April and a board will be put in place soon.

”It’s unfortunate we had to go into administration. But as a result of the audit, there were some discrepancies that had to be taken care of,” Williams said.

“A big focus … is ensuring we are taking actions on ways we can improve our customer service. Things are back on track now. 

“The new manager is completing their training and we’re looking forward to the appointment of a complete board for the local housing organization in the next coming month.”

Fort Simpson’s mayor, Sean Whelly, said he had yet to hear about or meet the new manager of the local housing authority. He was unaware that nominations were coming up for a new board of directors.

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“There’s been no meet-and-greets or anything,” said Whelly, suggesting people in a new position might ordinarily be expected to “make themselves known.”

The housing corporation will administer the process of appointing a board, with the help of a local nomination committee.

Whelly said the village had yet to be contacted. He expects the village to be able to put forward a nominee.

Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian couldn’t be reached for comment. She is in leadership meetings all week, staff said.

The housing corporation maintains 91 public housing units, 17 home ownership residences, and 12 market housing units in Fort Simpson, a community of 1,200 people.

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