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Iqaluit city council proposes up to $100,000 to fund housing task force

Additional money will cover cost of hiring independent contractor to tabulate a report

The city of Iqaluit is moving forward with plans to invest $100,000 in its task force to tackle affordable housing.

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell is spearheading a task force to address affordable housing. NNSL file photo

The group was spearheaded by Mayor Kenny Bell earlier this summer. During a council meeting on Oct. 13 councillors were unanimous in their support for funding the task force and approving an updated terms of reference for the group.

“This task force is just amazing,” said Coun. Sheila Flaherty before casting her vote.

In 2019, the territorial government estimated close to 4,900 Nunavummiut were on waiting lists for public housing.

Along with Bell, other founding members of the task force include deputy mayor Janet Brewster, Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone and Laurel McCorriston, the executive director of Uquutaq Society – operators of the men's shelter in Iqaluit.

The money will go toward paying an independent contractor to pull together the minutes from the committee meetings and compile a report with their findings within the next year.

“Now is the time with the support (of) council to move forward ... to really narrow the scope of work that will allow us to have a workable implementable outcome,” Brewster told council.

During the meeting Bell said the group has made significant progress since forming earlier this year. That includes some assistance from Senator Dennis Patterson's office, which has been providing the task force with statistics and logistical assistance.

However, he said in order to be able to pull all the information together and write a report the task force needs more resources dedicated to the cause. That is why money was requested to hire an independent contractor.

“The senator's staff is doing a lot of work to begin with but you need someone to bring it all together,” said Bell.

Bell told council he doesn't anticipate the city will need to spend the entire $100,000 but is budgeting that amount just in case.

“I don't think it'll end up costing that much,” he said. “Staff will develop the RFP and we'll go from there.”

A previous version of this story was headlined "Iqaluit city council commits $100,000 to fund housing task force". According to a spokesperson for the city "it was not passed, only discussed. Next steps are for city staff to prepare an RFP, which will be presented to council and possibly passed." Nunavut News regrets any confusion this may have caused.