The Fort Good Hope Dene Band, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation, and the Deh Gáh Got’ı̨ę First Nation in Fort Providence will receive a combined $9.8 million in federal funding to construct 29 affordable housing units.
Łutsël K’é will see five modular units sent by barge this summer, while Fort Good Hope will get six new units and Fort Providence will receive 18.
In a press conference on Tuesday, NWT MP Michael McLeod said the units will help vulnerable members in each community and those experiencing homelessness.
Arthur Tobac, director of the K’asho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society in Fort Good Hope, said the community will get one two-bedroom unit and the remaining structures will be single-unit duplexes. One of those single-units is earmarked for a resident transitioning to a home.
The community currently has a waitlist for public housing but Tobac said assessing housing needs can be difficult as some residents want specific types of homes the community does not have.
Tommy Kakfwi, the chief of Fort Good Hope, said the K’asho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society is “trying to develop a degree of self-sufficiency” in the community.
The society won a national housing award in December for its work on a community-based repair program that allowed the community to gain more control over housing maintenance and repairs.
“To date, I’m really proud of where we are in the housing,” Kakfwi said.
Chief of the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation, Darryl Marlowe, said his community is affected by homelessness, overcrowding and poverty. He said the new housing units will help with the community’s long-term housing goals.
“The long-term goals are set out by the leadership in Łutsël K’é to try and get more affordable housing units into our community so that we can take care of all the issues that come along with not having a home [or] roof over your head,” he said.
“This will help make families feel more comfortable [and] bring more joy to them waking up everyday to know they have a home over their head.”
Marlowe estimates the community still needs about 50 more homes to meet the housing needs of families.
The chief added Łutsël K’é leadership is looking to establish a First Nations housing office. He said he’d like to see a transitional housing program and a homeless shelter established.
McLeod, who lives in Fort Providence, said the 18 units allotted to the community will come in the form of, modular homes, duplexes, fourplexes, and retrofits to old homes. He said work in the community has already begun.