Tulı́t’a Community Woodstove Program
In 2021, the Fort Norman Métis Community, along with the Tulı́t’a Dene Band, and Tulı́t’a Land Corporation created a Housing Steering Committee to address housing needs in the community. Together, these three groups are overseeing the development of a community housing needs assessment and community housing plan in Tulı́t’a (2022-2023). The Fort Norman Métis Community is the administrative point of contact for the project and the Steering Committee, currently providing in-kind financial and administrative support for the project. A draft of the needs assessment report was completed in August 2022 and is under review by the Steering Committee. This work is being supported by PlanIt North consultants in Yellowknife.
Two goals of this housing initiative are:
1. To understand and document Tulı́t’a’s priorities for addressing the community’s housing needs through a community housing planning process.
2. To support the Community Housing Coordinator to develop skills and gain experience in community engagement and project coordination.
3. To address community housing needs, including home repairs, improving the adequacy, safety and condition of housing in Tulı́t’a.
The Committee has also received funding to establish a community housing society to operate community housing programs, build partnerships, and manage funding to improve housing for all members.
The Housing Steering Committee has identified that repair and maintenance of existing privately owned housing is a priority and has recently partnered with Arctic Energy Alliance to pilot a 2022-23 home winterization program for elders and low-income homeowners. Accessing Housing NWT (formerly NWT Housing Corporation) programs to assist with repairs and maintenance has been challenging for many community members for a number of reasons, such as lack of familiarity with the administrative process to access programs and having an income that is too high to qualify for programs, but not adequate to pay for the high cost of repairs.
The Steering Committee has hired a Community Housing Coordinator and a Community Liaison worker to support home repair projects. They would like to partner with Arctic Energy Alliance to deliver and install at least five woodstoves for households in need in the community. This is a pilot home renovation project for the Steering Committee to initiate over the next year with the goal of accessing core funding to expand the program to additional households in future years.
Who Will it Benefit?
The targeted beneficiaries of the woodstove program are elders and families in need. It is for homeowners only and part of the funding support provided by Arctic Energy Alliance is through the anti-poverty fund so the recipients must be elders and lower income community members.
Community members highlighted the high cost of utilities as a barrier to home ownership and savings. Some households in a 2022 community survey reported spending near $2000 a month on heating. Data from this survey show that community homes with woodstoves cost substantially less to heat than those solely reliant on furnace heating.
As the community of Tulı́t’a is small, and the housing challenges affect most residents, and increased capacity for repairs and maintenance will benefit everyone. In particular, families who are living in inadequate housing and struggling to make improvements due to low income or inability to access Housing NWT programs will be prioritized, along with Elders. Elders are especially vulnerable to barriers in accessing programs and funds that could help to improve their housing condition.
In partnership with the Arctic Energy Alliance, the Steering Committee has hired a community liaison worker this year to support training and installation of home winterization kits in 20 privately owned homes. If funding for the woodstove program can be obtained, the community liaison worker will also gain skills and experience installing and helping households to maintain their woodstoves and chimneys. Developing repair and maintenance capacity in the community will significantly improve the quality of housing in the community in the future.