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High-income earners in public housing should be encouraged to buy their own homes, says Towtongie

MLA Cathy Towtongie earned a round of applause from her peers in the legislative assembly on Friday when she pressed Housing Minister Patterk Netser to encourage high-income tenants occupying public housing units to buy their own homes.

“All communities in Nunavut are suffering from a shortage of housing and every single unit counts,” says Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet MLA Cathy Towtongie.

The Nunavut Housing Corporation’s most recent annual report reveals that 350 public housing tenants are earning more than $100,000 per year.

“If they are able to purchase their own homes, that would free up much-needed (public) housing,” said Towtongie, MLA for Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet.

Netser explained that the sliding rental scale applies, so high income earners pay higher rent. He also pointed out that an existing tenant-to-own program assists tenants in buying the public housing unit that they are renting.

“We want to see more people owning their own homes and we are pushing for that,” said Netser. “You want to see people work to attain homeownership and to have people who can maintain their own homes the chance to own a home, and when they move to a private home, then we move others into their old units and that is the goal. This is why we are pushing homeownership in our action plan to try to improve that.”