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November/December 2011

The lack of availability of adequate housing in the North has long been a major social issue and a source of frustration for territorial governments and especially to those families in need of affordable housing but more often relegated to long waiting lists.

Increasing the supply of new housing units in sufficient enough numbers to help address the pressing need in Arctic communities — though necessary — is always costly and the timeline to get houses planned, built and move-in ready can be a long one.

In October, the government of Quebec announced a new program under its Plan Nord initiative to provide some 300 affordable low-rent housing units to Nunavik communities by 2016.

Joining with the provincial government under its Plan Nord program are Makivik Corporation (as construction contractor) and the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau (as construction manager).

The first recipients of new units will be the communities of Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq. Materials for the 74 new units planned for them are coming by sealift and the new homes should be ready by the end of 2012. The anticipated economic spin-offs and benefits to the region in terms of jobs training and employment for Inuit are additional and very welcome advances to improving the overall living conditions in the region.