The Canadian Arctic’s dearth of housing supply represents more than just a lack of dwellings, as the shortages are also driving the Inuit Nunangat’s public health crisis, according to the latest report by the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.
The committee called for decisive intervention through federal-level measures that would address declining social housing budgets and implement better solutions for the area’s long-term housing needs.
“The lack of decent and affordable housing continues to have serious public health repercussions throughout the Inuit territories,” according to the report, as quoted by Nunatsiaq Online.
The acute deficiency in the number of houses has been correlated with a higher incidence of respiratory tract infections and tuberculosis (Inuit are 250 times more likely to suffer from this disease compared to the whole of Canada), as well as with greater levels of anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.
“Nunavik has one of the highest rates of overcrowding in Canada, with 53 per cent of Nunavik families living in overcrowded homes in 2015,” the report explained.
“Given the ongoing financial and demographic pressures for social housing, adequate federal support is considered critical by many in order to help territorial and Inuit governments keep up with the escalating housing needs in their regions,” the committee stated, adding that social housing remains a must as the majority of Inuit do not have reliable financial access to home ownership or private rental housing.
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