Parties, candidates explain how they’ll try to fix N.W.T. housing

Most Northwest Territories residents need only look down the street to be reminded of one of the territory’s biggest crises: the lack of suitable, safe housing.

Multiple families crowd into some homes in small N.W.T. communities where there simply aren’t enough buildings. Elsewhere, people live in dilapidated houses long overdue for repair or pay some of the priciest rental costs in Canada.

There is universal agreement among federal election contenders that fixing N.W.T. housing is an urgent priority. But how?

We consulted parties’ national platforms and news releases and heard directly from candidates to summarize what each of the five options on the territory’s ballot is promising.

In a news release on Tuesday, Michael McLeod – seeking a third term as the N.W.T.’s MP – said a re-elected Liberal government would build on investments it has made in northern housing with a new, three-part national housing plan.

McLeod said the plan will help make home ownership more accessible by helping renters to become owners, reducing the monthly cost of mortgages, and increasing incentives to help young people buy homes, saving first-time homeowners up to $30,000.

The national plan promises to build more homes by doubling a national fund for coinvestment, a practice where the federal government puts up money to help projects that already have some other source of financial backing, such as from the N.W.T. Housing Corporation.

The Liberals also propose allocating at least $300 million to Indigenous housing, for which McLeod says he has been “the leading voice on Parliament Hill.”

The party adds it will establish a “home buyers’ bill of rights.” The Liberals say that document encompasses “banning blind bidding, establishing a legal right to a home inspection, and banning new foreign ownership for two years to make the process of buying a home fairer, more open, and transparent.”
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