Mr. Speaker, for the last 40 years, Canadians have determined core housing needs based on adequacy, suitability, and affordability. Core housing refers to a national set of measures developed in collaboration with the United States. Based on core housing metrics, in 2019, over 50 percent of housing in small communities required major repairs; and in Yellowknife, our greatest challenge was affordability. One in three Yellowknifers are spending more than 30 percent of their household income on housing costs. Over 900 people are currently on the waitlist for public housing across the NWT.
Things are getting worse, Mr. Speaker. In 2009, 32 percent of the NWT had at least one housing problem. In 2019, a decade later, that number has risen to 43 percent. Our needs are growing. Our housing is aging and becoming inadequate, according to core measures.
Understand that what is measured defines the crisis. When housing, community wellness, economic prosperity, education, and personal health are all linked, are we really measuring the right things? When northern housing is now linked to the National Housing Strategy, to human and Indigenous rights, and to global sustainability, are we really measuring the right things?
While Canadian jurisdictions raced to be the first at the table for billions in federal housing dollars, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Chiefs-in-Assembly started creating their own modern self-determined housing strategy. This strategy will define housing needs based on community values and priorities and will work toward creative community-based solutions to solve the housing crisis. This strategy was born in response to housing programs that are not meeting their needs today, have not addressed future needs of changing demographics, and do not promote or create community wellness. This acknowledges that a more holistic approach to housing is needed. This holistic approach challenges the narrow metrics of the core housing policies and includes new, more meaningful data. This approach focuses on how everything is connected.
Our four-year mandate recognizes a half-dozen initiatives related directly to building homes in thriving communities. To increase effectiveness, to save money, to focus our efforts, these initiatives must work together. On Friday, the Premier acknowledged conversations committing this Cabinet to work with the Indigenous governments to secure funding from the federal government. This is a great beginning. We must also work across all levels of government, all sectors and NGOs, to tell a new story of dwelling in this land. I seek consent to continue, please, Mr. Speaker.
---Unanimous consent granted