The few houses that are commonly available tend to be of the single-room box type, which does not provide adequate space for even the smallest of families. Better suited to single person than a family of three, such houses are snapped up almost immediately after being listed on the market.
Many of the houses in the old settlements and residential communities have been standing since the 70s and 80s, and most are showing signs of significant wear and tear, and even structural damage. These houses pose a serious health and safety risk to their inhabitants, although the shortage of options leaves residents little choice but to stay put and hope that the roof and walls don’t come down.
Most of the region’s population would not be able to afford a house even if there were any available on the market. The constant high demand and scarcity of options have caused prices to skyrocket, and even modest housing units are priced well beyond the financial capability of many of the region’s residents. The high rate of unemployment also contributes to the housing crisis.
All of these factors add up to the Canadian North’s lowest home ownership rates in the country. In the 2006 census, it was found that only 52.9% of the region’s residents owned houses–a significantly lower figure than the 71% of homeowners in Ontario or the 73 percent of homeowners in Alberta.
Given the previously mentioned factors, most local residents pin their hopes on social housing. Unfortunately, these provide little opportunity for ownership, and supply is always in short demand as well.
Adequate, secure, and reliable housing is essential to the continued growth and development of a community. For the indigenous population of the Canadian North, limited access to quality affordable housing is a significant obstacle to active engagement in the local community, in society, and in the political sphere. By addressing the key issues surrounding the Canadian North’s housing market, the region’s residents may be able to gain the benefits that safe and secure housing options provide.