Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to present the NWT Housing Corporation's 1995-96 capital main estimates. For 1995-96 we are asking the Legislative Assembly to approve total capital of $49 million. We will also receive $4.661 million from CMHC for retrofitting and modernization and improvement projects for existing social housing.
The first of these will improve on our use of current resources. One of the largest resources we have is our existing social housing units. As Members know, I will be proposing changes to the rent scale during this session. These proposed changes will encourage higher income people, who are currently in social housing, to get into home ownership. Badly needed social housing units will be vacated for those lower income households who are waiting to get a house. We must keep our social housing units for those lower income clients who most need this type of help.
For the 1995-96 year, all new units will be delivered through the corporation's home ownership programs. There will be no new rent supplement or social housing built this year. This will save approximately $80 million in leasing and operating costs over the next 20 years. Focusing on home ownership will provide the home ownership options necessary for tenants who can afford it to move out of social housing.
Another initiative is the introduction of the new downpayment assistance program. This new program provides a maximum of 25 per cent of the cost to build or purchase a new home. Up to five per cent of the home's value is provided as a grant, with the balance of 20 per cent being provided as a forgivable loan. The forgivable loan portion will be written off over a 15-year period.
We recognize that some families, whose incomes are just below the core need income threshold, could get into home ownership with downpayment assistance. The objective of this program is to help clients qualify for bank financing and make their mortgage payments affordable. Of the 313 units, 50 units will be provided for the downpayment assistance program.
For the last two years, I have talked about our loss of federal funding and the lobbying efforts to regain this funding for housing. Members of the Advisory Committee on Social Housing, my Cabinet colleagues, aboriginal leaders, both national and in the NWT, and myself, have lobbied hard to get the federal government to recognize their responsibility for aboriginal housing in the NWT.
I am hopeful that these efforts may be about to pay off, at least in a small way. The federal government is working on the development of an aboriginal housing policy. This signals that the federal government has recognized its responsibility for housing aboriginal people across the country. It is expected that this new policy will lead to longer-term funding commitments being made available to assist in housing aboriginal people, on and off reserves. However, I do not expect funding levels to return to the $47 million that was cut. We will continue to press our position with the federal government.
Many recommendations were received from the communities. These recommendations have been reviewed by myself and members of the Advisory Committee on Social Housing at a meeting held in Taloyoak in late September. Through the consultation process, many good ideas were offered to make housing delivery more efficient, more cost-effective and more focused on the housing needs of families and the communities. I will be tabling the results of the consultation process in the House during this session.
At the district consultation meetings, community leaders expressed support for a number of initiatives the corporation has undertaken. These include the northern manufacturing initiative and the building and learning strategy. I am committed to continuing our support for both of these. The building and learning strategy, which is a joint effort between the corporation, Public Works and Services and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, has been expanded to 12 communities. In the past year, 33 trainees received Construction Worker I and II certificates. With the expansion of the program, we can only improve on that number. Better trained workers mean better job opportunities and more local employment.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Housing Corporation and this will be the most challenging period in the corporation's history. The consultation meetings began a process of working with communities. I am committed to continuing this work with the communities to come up with innovative ways to meet those challenges.
The information in the published capital estimate document at the regional level for the NWT Housing Corporation is incorrect. As a result of the position of numbers, the budget for the Baffin region is incorrectly reflected in the Kitikmeot region, and the budget for the Kitikmeot region is incorrectly reflected in the Baffin region. Revised pages 03-11, 03-12 and 03-18 have been provided to the committee and, I understand, have been inserted in your capital estimate documents. So, Kelvin, you are not getting more money, it was a mistake.
That concludes my remarks, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, very much. I would be pleased to answer questions.