Municipal authorities offered six Nunavik communities in northern Quebec a contest aimed at increasing pride and improving homes.
Prizes included a VIP trip to Montreal to see a Canadiens game, six months free rent, an Xbox.
A large part of the aboriginal housing issue is due to vandalism and lack of proper maintenance. Homes falling into disrepair and a limited pot of money to build new ones explains in part chronic shortages.
The problem was intended to reverse the trend: “Even though they’re living in social housing, we wanted them to be more proud of who they are, their home and to better maintain and take care of them,” said Mary Nassak, a spokesperson for the program. “We try to make them aware that vandalism costs a lot and we’re trying to encourage our tenants to avoid it,” she said.
This is a step in the right direction for sure, but it opens up the larger question of why home and property ownership is denied indigenous communities as this would create strong incentives for home maintenance.