Housing Day shines spotlight on home maintenance in Nunavik

“Everybody is welcome,” says Pivallianiq’s Quaqtaq agent and housing assistant Billieben Tukkiapik of Housing Day BBQs on August 30. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

August 30 marks Housing Day in Nunavik, featuring draws for various rewards, including rent discounts.

“Tenants that are certified can win all kinds of prizes,” says Pivallianiq’s Quaqtaq agent and housing assistant Billieben Tukkiapik.

“Some are one month free rent, some are rebates and there’s also two prizes of one year rent free.”

Established in 2011, the Pivallianiq initiative aims to educate public housing residents about building maintenance and provide support in properly caring for their new homes.

The shortage of housing in Nunavik, along with vandalism and a lack of maintenance workers and equipment in the North, was resulting in high costs for the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau (KMHB), the organization responsible for the region’s social housing.

The cleaning supply kit offered by the program. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

When the initiative was introduced, the Quebec government was spending $40 million annually on maintaining KMHB buildings, with several million dollars allocated to repairing vandalism.

Certification gifts

Participating in the initiative is voluntary.

Once a new tenant signs up, agents like Tukkiapik conduct regular visits to homes, and check if work orders and needed maintenance requests are being put through and the home is being cared for. 

Certification gifts are provided at different stages of the process.

“When we first go, we give theme a welcome letter, maintenance guide and a cleaning supply kit with over $100 value,” Tukkiapik said. 

“Our second visit, we do fire safety, talk about rent payment and refer to local resources if needed.”

A firearm safety cabinet is one of the certification gifts offered through the program. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

A strong certification record over several years allows tenants to enter the draw on Housing Day.

Beyond rent rebates, eligible tenants can also win prizes ranging from uluks (knives used by Inuit women) to $3,000 gift certificates from the co-op store.

Housing Day festivities include BBQs in the communities.

“It’s usually during lunch time and everybody is welcome,” Tukkiapik said. 


The Housing Day draw can be viewed August 30 on the Pivallianiq Facebook page.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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Canada: First Nation in Dawson hits the airwaves to get community updates out faster, CBC News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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