The Nunavut housing crisis has persisted for more than a decade despite efforts to address the shortage of 3,800 housing units. Construction costs are high, insurance is expensive, and mortgages can be difficult to acquire. Consequently, private sector developers are reluctant to undertake housing development in Nunavut, particularly outside of Iqaluit. This has resulted in a severe shortage of housing options and severe overcrowding among Inuit households.
The Community housing in Nunavut Solutions Lab will explore one method of addressing the gap in housing options. There is no community housing sector in Nunavut, and the Lab seeks to address why. It will uncover barriers and facilitators to developing the sector and identify potential partnerships and forms for community-based housing initiatives. In doing so, the Lab will also encourage and strengthen community-based participation in Nunavut’s housing development.
3 Key Goals
Reach a deeper understanding of the challenges around developing affordable housing in Nunavut.
Identify key elements, innovative models and practical solutions for developing Nunavut’s community-based affordable housing.
Develop sustainable and affordable housing options and alternatives to meet Nunavummiut’s varied needs, including those of a growing elder population.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Unique housing challenges
Nunavut’s 25 communities are remote, with no road or rail access. All construction materials must be transported on the annual summer sealift or by air. When combined with Nunavut’s climate and geography, this presents unique challenges to providing housing in the territory. As a result, Nunavut faces chronic housing shortages. A 2010 survey found that 49% of occupied dwellings were overcrowded, with a housing shortfall of 3,800 units.
Unlike all other jurisdictions in Canada, Nunavut lacks a community housing sector. Furthermore, the regional and territorial Inuit associations have not yet been engaged in affordable housing development. The Lab, however, will explore why that is and how existing barriers can be overcome. The Lab itself will help inspire change, and work to encourage and strengthen community-based participation in housing development and management.
Strengthening community housing relationships
The Lab will blend several methods to strengthen community housing relationships and capacity for long-term systems change. These include systems thinking and practices and community economic development. The ArcticNet Research Partnership will assist with data collection and analysis.
The Lab will occur over 6 phases:
- The Definition Phase will see the Lab Leadership Team convened and oriented. The project boundaries, structures, roles and timelines will be defined. This phase will be dedicated to background research and creating an engagement and communications strategy.
- The Discovery Phase involves the continuation of community-based research and engagement. This will be done through interviews, community workshops and consultations. Lab participants will explore the issue through multiple perspectives, attitudes and understandings of the systemic influences that affect it. The resulting insights will be shared through an online learning event and the Lab’s online platform.
- The Development Phase gives participants the opportunity to explore new community-based models and solutions to the problem. They will be supported to examine ideas that have the potential to address the root causes of the challenges. Working together, they will identify ways to guide the development and selection of prototype solutions.
- The Delivery and Prototype Phase will see teams design prototype solutions. These will be tested and adapted rapidly and repeatedly based on real-time feedback. This will identify which prototypes have the most potential for impact. Teams will be supported to document their experiments and evaluate their learnings to further refine prototypes.
- The Roadmap Phase involves prototype teams sharing their findings and engaging in activities to make sense of the prototype tests. In a final session, they will co-create a roadmap for implementing the most promising solutions. The roadmap report will be shared with key stakeholders before it is finalized.
- The Financing Phase will see relevant partners and stakeholders prepare a submission for funding opportunities through the National Housing Strategy.
Sharing activities, highlights and facts
Audiences for the Lab and its results include housing stakeholders at all levels, including those with lived experience. Government, institutions and private sector and non-profit organizations also will be intended audiences. Lab partners will participate in sharing activities, highlights and facts through their social media channels, newsletters, websites and more.
Reports will share the findings, and case examples will be created from the Lab’s community-based housing models. Other products include journal articles in peer-reviewed journals, a podcast series about the housing plan process and an online community of practice. Finally, the roadmap and implementation plan will outline the most promising solutions and how they can be achieved.
Project Team: Nunavut Housing Corporation
Location: Iqaluit, Nunavut
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA)
- Co-operative Housing Federation Canada (CHF Canada)
- Dr. Julia Christensen, Memorial University
- Panaq Design
- Arctic Co-operatives Limited (ACL)
- Co-operative Housing Federation of BC/Community Land Trust
Solutions Lab Consultant:
- Ready to Shift and Scale
Get More Information:
Email email@example.com or visit our website to learn more about the initiatives under the National Housing Strategy.