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.
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.
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 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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