Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, spring is a beautiful and powerful time of transition, both in season and in the lives of many Northerners. Our pride of northern graduates and the anticipation of summer adventures are putting bounce in our step so this feels like an opportune time to work with housing to make some of our own transitions.
Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the Minister identified the delay of the 2018 commitment of a homelessness strategy was a needed all-of-government approach and to avoid any unintended consequences. I agree with the need of government integration, shared accountability, and mechanisms for a person-centered approach. In addition, I agree that good policy means considering, weighing, and evaluating unintended consequences.
The Minister also said the delay was due to a desire to bring forward an approach that can be resourced but later said "once the document is implemented, we need to find resources."
Mr. Speaker, as a Regular Member, at this point I have no idea what this strategy will include or the action it will compel from the government but I know that after four years of drafting and redrafting, my expectations are big. One of my biggest frustrations, Mr. Speaker, is that in the four years of drafting this strategy, the government has not made efforts to evolve policies with unintended consequences of homelessness.
The Housing NWT Community Residency Policy as unintended consequences that do cause homelessness. It requires an NWT resident to live in a community for a predetermined number of months before they can then add their name to the public housing waitlist.
Mr. Speaker, if implementing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the MMIWG Calls for Justice, and the TRC Calls to Action are a priority of this government, they need to flip policies and ask if the unintended consequences are justifiable. And they need to do that now, not sitting with them for four years. If the government spends its entirety reviewing, reflecting, and strategizing without the action, nothing will change.
Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to listen to NWT residents during the anti-poverty round table focused on housing and homelessness. One resounding theme was a call to action to stop researching and planning and to start listening, acting, and then evaluating, because then we have at least tried to change.
This policy keeps people from jobs, family, and autonomy. But even more jarring, Mr. Speaker, it prevents Northerners from accessing resources, prevents parents from leaving violent relationships, and jeopardizes a parent's ability to keep their children out of the child welfare system.
This policy, Mr. Speaker, causes homelessness. Housing NWT needs to stop upholding a policy that limits a person's self-determination in health, economic, and social sufficiency through housing. Thank you.