Nunavummiut fortunate enough to have homes are providing shelter to those with no place to live and thereby helping the GN with the territory’s homeless problem, says Tony Akoak, MLA for Gjoa Haven.
The Department of Family Services ought to assist those helpful families and individuals by supplying food for the people they take into their homes, he recommends.
“Sometimes in the house there are 11 to 16 people due to homelessness and they have to feed them,” Akoak said in the legislative assembly on Feb. 26.
Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik replied, “Sometimes it’s up to every one of us when it comes to food insecurity as well. I myself have family members that struggle as well. I have food in my cupboard that is not perishable that I will go and deliver to my family, so I very much understand food insecurity. Partnership is really important and we should not be creating partnerships only during hard times. Qujannamiik for that question and I look forward to having maybe a dialogue with you (Akoak) on some ideas on how to move forward as well.”
Sheutiapik also told Akoak that staff from her department plan to go to Gjoa Haven to discuss the findings in the Nunavut Hidden Homelessness Report, released last year but based on survey results from 2018.
She attributed delays to Covid, weather, the lack of hotels, the finalizing of other surveys and changes in housing ministers.
“I certainly continue to have dialogue with each housing minister,” she said.
In her minister’s statement earlier in the day, Sheutiapik recited the ways that food security has been enhanced in Nunavut recently, including $5.2 million in donations from several organizations as well as food hamper delivers in various communities, such as 300 given away in Igulik and 160 handed out in Qikiqtarjuaq.