Stranded in shack, family pleads for insulation



December 9, 2005
Stranded in shack, family pleads for insulation
"If there's someone out there who can help us, I would be very grateful to them"


Veronica Atagoyuk isn't asking for much this Christmas: just some insulation and a wee bit of help with the rising cost of kerosene and naptha.

Right now, that seems like a big request.

"If there's someone out there who can help us, I would be very grateful to them," Veronica says.

For the past three months, the young Iqaluit mother, her husband, and her two children have taken shelter inside a tiny plywood shack perched behind some social housing units near the edge of Iqaluit's MOT beach. It measures about 16 feet long, 12 feet wide and just over six feet high.

Nunatsiaq News (external - login to view)

That is terrible, horrible and downright sad.

Housing has been a problem for as long as I could remember in the far north. For the life of me I do not know why the feds do not build more affordable housing and at a faster pace.

That is inhumane to live like that with no reliable heat, no running water. It is disgraceful that can happen in this country.
No shortage of big buck govt. types enjoying the good life all over the north. Lots of other money too. Enough money close to home to fix this problem. So not an Ottawa prob but local.
Oh, for some reason I thought since the Territories were not "provinces" Ottawa did the managing. Well then the Territorial governments need to get off their ***'s and do something about this.

No shortage of big buck govt. types enjoying the good life all over the north. Lots of other money too. Enough money close to home to fix this problem. So not an Ottawa prob but local.

Just to help put it into perspective:


Here's what the MLA's are making: For example, Premier Paul Okalik earned a tidy $151,755 as of March 31, 2005. That's $18,335 more than the $133,420 he was paid in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002.

In March 2002, the highest paid regular member was David Iqaqrialu of Uqqummiut, at $93,660. But that figure would now put him near the bottom of the pack. This year's regular-member pay-cheque champion is Patterk Netser, who scooped up $100,930.

The speaker, Jobie Nutarak, isn't starving either. He took in $144,924, which is $17,902 more than the $127,022 that speaker Kevin O'Brien received as of March 2002.

In addition to the pay numbers listed below, MLAs also get "living allowances" ranging from about $13,800 up to $31,280 a year, depending on the member.

How much does your MLA make? (external - login to view)

Quite a gap between a shack and that much wealth for a small population, isn't it?


Canada and Nunavut Sign Affordable Housing Agreement
Iqaluit, February 6, 2002 The Governments of Canada and Nunavut today announced the signing of an Affordable Housing Agreement which will provide funding to help increase the affordable housing supply in the territory. Federal funding of $4.96 million through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), combined with funding from Nunavut, demonstrates the commitment of both governments to work together to address the affordable housing problem.

Click (external - login to view)

Not sure if there's a more recent agreement to go by.

Anyway, the point is, she's asking for help. As you and I sit in our comfortable warm sitting rooms, and the MLA's in theirs, she's in her uninsulated shack with children.

It just shouldn't be.
Why is she allowed to live in a six foot high box. She doesn't need insulation, she needs a home. Surely the territorial authority can come up with a better answer than insulating that box.
Jo Canadian
I was just reading this about 20 min ago.

The housing up north has been substandard at best, in communities with a more dense population the problem becomes even bigger. Iqaluit seems to have more than just one family in this situation. More commonly you'd find many families that are sharing houses, where you'll get 15-20 members sharing accomodations.

In the west in Kugluktuk in Cambrigdge Bay, you'd see more of shared accomodations than those living in shacks, but the communities are smaller and there's more families to help. The Gov't there does try to build new units, but sometimes it's hard to rent them out because of the high costs afterwards. Kugluktuk had that problem after creating a whole new residental section in town...but most of the houses remained empty for years.

could go on forever about this, but to give you an example of how slow housing advances up 1992 the community that I was in finally got rid of the last house that had to use honey buckets....(the toilet was a plastic bag)
Well, my forum is specific to Nunavut so we have this same thread going but put this here as I was curious to hear the opinions of other Canadians. Thanks for sharing your perspectives.

For those interested in helping this family out by buying food rather than a voucher, all you need to do is make a list- it doesn't have to be big. Or you can just buy a can of naptha. Rick Hewitt, the Manager for Northmart would be happy to take orders at (867) 975-3500.

Seasons Greetings everyone!

Hopefully there'll be a happy ending to this story as we are encouraging those responsible for affordable housing to do their part and find these people a real home.

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