Media Release

March 19, 2014

Housing Needs Assessment Released for Nunatsiavut Communities

The Provincial and Nunatsiavut Governments have released the results of an Inuit Housing Needs Assessment that identifies individual and family housing needs of Nunatsiavut residents. The assessment confirmed housing shortages and need for improved housing in Nunatsiavut, in particular in the communities of Nain and Hopedale.

“Our partnership with the Nunatsiavut Government on this assessment has proved valuable and confirmed the seriousness of the situation in Nunatsiavut. As reflected by our participation in the Housing Needs Assessment and our ongoing dialogue with the Nunatsiavut Government, we are committed to using available resources to explore solutions to address housing issues in the Inuit communities. There is also opportunity for greater involvement from the Federal Government to help support residents and these communities.”
- The Honourable Kevin O’Brien, Minister Responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation

Conducted in 2012, the Housing Needs Assessment had a response rate of over 90 per cent. The findings from the assessment, coupled with expert knowledge of current housing challenges, and local knowledge of housing needs and preferences, will be used to build healthy housing and contribute to the development of sustainable communities in Nunatsiavut. Some of the assessment’s findings are outlined in the enclosed backgrounder.

“We have always maintained that there is a housing shortage and inadequate standards of housing in our communities. We know there is a significant need for social housing, particularly for seniors and low-income families, as well as the need to repair and/or replace many homes. Our government’s Healthy Homes program will mark a necessary first step towards housing developments that are designed and built by Inuit for Inuit. We are addressing our housing issues at its root to provide long-term housing solutions that are actionable across Nunatsiavut and Inuit Nunangat.”
- Sarah Leo, President, Nunatsiavut

In March, the Nunatsiavut Government will host its first housing session where architects and other housing professionals will learn from Nunatsiavummiut what design options are needed to accommodate local lifestyles, cultural preferences and demands, and local climate. The plan is to build and monitor a pilot multi-unit residential dwelling for Nunatsiavummiut that is culturally relevant, energy efficient and technologically smart, and adapted to new climatic and environmental realities.

“As our government works closely with the Nunatsiavut Government to improve access to housing in Nain, Hopedale, Rigolet, Makkovik, and Postville, it is paramount that we look for innovative solutions. Together, we can advance positive, sustainable outcomes that meet the cultural and geographic requirements of Inuit communities.”
- The Honourable Nick McGrath, Minister Responsible for Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs

Both governments are committed to supporting important social programs, strong communities and the health and well-being of children, families and seniors.


  • The Housing Needs Assessment, funded equally by the Nunatsiavut, Provincial and Federal Governments, was carried out in each Labrador Inuit community during the fall of 2012. It identifies individual and family housing needs of Nunatsiavut residents, and confirms housing shortages and need for improved housing in Nunatsiavut, in particular in the communities of Nain and Hopedale.
  • In its 2013-14 budget, the Nunatsiavut Government allocated a total of $2.7 million to help with the development of a long-term sustainable housing strategy.
  • The Nunatsiavut Government provides about $2.3 million annual to Torngat Regional Housing Association to repair and/or construct new homes in each of the five Labrador Inuit communities.
  • Since 2010, the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation has constructed eight new social housing units in Nain and Hopedale (four each). The total investment was $1.8 million.
  • In 2007, the Provincial Government and the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation allocated $2 million through the Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust to the Nunatsiavut Government to address housing needs in the Inuit communities. The Nunatsiavut Government advised that it was utilized to construct 11 new homes and 13 major home repairs. An additional $6 million was divided among the Nunatsiavut Government, the then-Federation of Newfoundland Indians, the then-Labrador Metis Nation; and, the Miawpukek First Nation, for an Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Repair Program.

- 30 -

Media contacts:

John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Advanced Education and Skills
709-729-0753, 728-7762

Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
709-3015, 690-6290
Bert Pomeroy
Director of Communications
Nunatsiavut Government
709-896-8582, 899-0004

Some Results of the Housing Needs Assessment

Some of the information gathered through the door-to-door surveys identified the following:

  • Based on the Statistics Canada definition of ‘overcrowding’, 14.6 per cent of households in Nain and 13.8 per cent in Hopedale are overcrowded;
  • Almost 50 per cent of all homes in Nain and Hopedale house more than one family unit (48 per cent in Nain and 45 per cent in Hopedale). This is also true of 26 per cent of homes in Makkovik, 23 per cent in Rigolet and 22 per cent in Postville;
  • More than half of the dwellings in Nain and Hopedale are inadequately heated, including 57 per cent in Nain and 63 per cent in Hopedale. The average for all Nunatsiavut communities is 43 per cent;
  • Almost 80 per cent of households say they have trouble heating their home due to the poor condition of their dwelling;
  • Nearly 75 per cent of all dwellings are in need of repairs; and,
  • Approximately 45 per cent of dwellings in Nunatsiavut have mould.