Noel Kaludjak is looking forward to being sworn in after being elected as a board member for the Rankin Inlet Housing Association this past month.

Kaludjak knows one can never make set-in-stone promises heading into a new position, but he plans to work hard during his two-year term and do everything he can to help improve the quality of public housing units in his community.

Kaludjak said the board must find ways to increase the association’s funding to improve maintenance and provide proper renovations.

He said maintenance staff members are improving, but they need stronger support from management and the board itself.

“The Rankin Inlet Housing Association can improve if we work hard and work together,” said Kaludjak. “The state of the average public housing unit is very poor and, I’d say, a true health hazard in many instances. We’re talking problems such as mould, water damage, drafty doors and windows, faulty furnaces, tenant damage and vandalism.

“We won’t be able to correct all these issues right away, but we can focus on and tackle one issue at a time.”

The future of housing became a bit brighter with a Government of Nunavut (GN) initiative announced last year.

The GN highlighted its plan to add 3,000 housing units across the territory by 2030 during an October announcement in Rankin Inlet by Lorne Kusugak, the minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp.

Plans for the Kivalliq include the construction of 295 new housing units in Arviat, 180 in Baker Lake, 20 in Chesterfield Inlet, 75 in Coral Harbour, 75 in Naujaat, 310 in Rankin Inlet and 35 in Whale Cove.

There were 258 people on the public housing wait list in Rankin as of March 31, 2022.

While applauding the GN’s announcement, Kaludjak pointed out that an even-more-concentrated effort must be undertaken to lower construction time and cost.

He said equally important is more funding being uncovered for the better maintenance and renovation of existing units.

“I thought about becoming a board member for awhile now because I can still make a positive contribution to my community,” he said. “The Rankin association can increase its ability to help improve living conditions in the units and run them more efficiently. People are constantly complaining about the poor state of the units and there’s rising frustration among the tenants but, really, it’s always been that way.

“Every avenue must also be researched and explored to significantly decrease the amount of tenant damage we see occurring in the community, as well as improving the collection of the existing rent rates for the units in full.”

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