It’s a dream come true for Emilda Hallauk.
The Arviat mother of six who said her apartment was overrun with mould and insisted the problem was making her family sick, has moved into a new home thanks to the Arviat Housing Association, she said.
Kivalliq News brought you her story last month after Hallauk, 36, shared troubling images of her family’s apartment, including walls that appeared to be covered with mould, on Facebook.
Hallauk spent 12 years of her life in the two-bedroom Arviat Housing Association apartment, sharing it with up to 13 other people, including her children, her parents, two brothers and three sisters, she said.
She first noticed the mould issue about a year ago and said the problem had been making her family sick.
“My dad (who) is over 60 years of age started to lose his voice and get respiratory problems and my three-year-old girl has been asthmatic since birth,” she told Kivalliq News in a March 17 interview.
“It really makes my head hurt,” she added. “Big time headaches.”
Two Arviat Housing Association staff visited her home on March 17 and said the problem would be taken care of, she said.
The Arviat Housing Association called her a few days later, she said, and informed her that a new unit was available. She moved in on March 26 with the help of friends and family.
Her old building is being renovated from “front to back porch,” she said.
Hallauk shared a few photos of her new home, thanked the association and said she feels blessed.
“They made me cry tears of joy,” she said. “I’m glad that we don’t have to wake up in the old smelly apartment anymore.”
Hallauk said she’ll be sharing the unit with her husband and children.
“I am very happy,” she said. “My kids even said that it’s good to wake up to a nice smell, not the smell of mould.”
Her parents have also moved into a new unit, she said, and she is sending a “big thank you” to the housing association for that.
According to a report published last month by Nunavut’s MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, Nunavummiut are enduring “inhumane conditions” and their health and safety is at risk by overcrowded, mouldy, water damaged and drafty homes.
The 21-page report, titled Sick of Waiting, focuses on Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk, Taloyoak, Coral Harbour and Naujaat, following a housing tour that Qaqqaq undertook in 2020.
“I was often told ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I’m embarrassed,’ but I am grateful people opened their homes and hearts to me. I met Inuit who had done their best in cleaning up and keeping a safe space, all while continuously running into barriers,” said Qaqqaq to Nunavut News. “I was devastated to see the conditions under which my constituents were living. What’s worse, I heard repeatedly that they had been living under these grossly unhealthy conditions for years. New generations were born into these mould-infested homes, and they were now in their teens or young adults. Many have only ever lived in these homes.
Qaqqaq stated that the Nunavut Housing Corporation is not at fault for the deficiencies due to a lack of financial resources.
“Everyone deserves a safe space to call home,” she stated. “This report attempts to highlight the ongoing housing needs in Nunavut and to amplify the voices of the Inuit and Nunavummiut whose pleas for safe and clean housing conditions have fallen on deaf ears for far too long. The damage caused by this neglect is beyond measure … Inuit and Nunavummiut lives are at stake.”