A national award for a Fort Good Hope housing society is inspiring Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson to look at replicating the Sahtu community’s model in his electoral district.
Fort Good Hope’s K’asho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society last week received a national award for its work studying the condition of homes in the community and then repairing them.
The society’s work was highlighted because in taking control of repairs, the community was able to bypass delays sometimes associated with southern contractors and government contracts that must go out to tender.
Chief of Fort Good Hope Tommy Kakfwi said last week: “I hope that our work is an example of a path to self-sufficiency.”
In the legislature on Monday, Jacobson said he would pursue that example in communities he represents like Paulatuk and Sachs Harbour.
“I really like how Fort Good Hope did it,” Jacobson said, adding a form of local housing society could “do a lot better than some of the housing boards we have in place.”
The NWT Housing Corporation has already announced it will review how local housing authorities are working and explore whether better models exist.
The K’asho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society is a non-profit arm of the local First Nation formed in 2016. The society, which receives some funding from the housing corporation, assumed responsibility for repair and maintenance of Fort Good Hope’s private housing units about a year ago.
Paulie Chinna, the NWT’s housing minister, appeared supportive of Jacobson’s plan to investigate the formation of similar societies.
“I am interested in looking at unique and different innovative ideas,” Chinna told the Nunakput MLA on Monday.
“If we’re looking at what has happened in Fort Good Hope, and if Nunakput is interested in doing something like that, I would like to bring the two organizations together and look at possibilities.”
Jacobson had earlier emphasized the toll inadequate housing was taking on the residents of Arctic NWT communities.
“People are suffering,” he said. “There are houses where, when the wind blows a certain way, you have snow coming in and the west wind through the doors, through the windows.
“Good job for Fort Good Hope. I’m really proud to hear what they have and I’m going to be looking to start societies in all my communities I represent, to work with the minister and our government to get proper housing for the people we represent.”