In Fall 2016, the Yamoga Land Corporation’s Board of Directors incorporated the K’ásho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society (KGHS) to address housing issues in Fort Good Hope. The Yamoga Land Corporation, an entity created by the Sahtú Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (SDMCLA), committed $500,000 in seed funding to the Society, in order to serve its Beneficiaries in accordance with its mandate within the Claim: “funding or providing for the construction, operation and administration of housing or subsidized, cooperative or communal housing for low-income participants in Canada.”
The new Society was inspired by an initiative of the K’ásho Got’ı̨nę First Nation years earlier; in the 1970s, the Band incorporated a Society which supported residents to build their own homes with public funding that was available at that time. The program is fondly remembered in Fort Good Hope, as it not only created homes, but it also created opportunities for residents to apply and build their skills, knowledge and confidence in home construction and maintenance.
In 2017, The K’ásho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society commissioned an assessment of housing needs in Fort Good Hope. Over fifty community residents and service providers were interviewed and many more participated in a series of in-person community meetings from June to December 2017. Through these discussions and through a compilation of desktop research, the K’ásho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society produced a community needs assessment: The State of Housing in Rádeyı̨lı̨ Kǫ́: Fort Good Hope Housing Assessment to Inform Community Planning. Since that time, an Interagency Committee has convened nearly every month to advise the K’ásho Got’ı̨nę Housing Society, while its Board of Directors and staff sought to further explore project feasibility and funding options to address prioritized needs.
The KGHS Strategic Plan was officially adopted by Leadership in the community in early 2020. The Strategic Plan provides the map that guides the programs and projects of the organization.
Rádeyı̨lı̨ Kǫ́ (Fort Good Hope) Housing Needs
According to the Rádeyı̨lı̨ Kǫ́ (Fort Good Hope) Housing Assessment completed in 2017:
- Up to 25 men, 3 women and 3 families are homeless in Fort Good Hope, living in insecure and transient situations.
- An estimated additional 15 males, 14 women and 6 families need housing but are living in comparatively stable, though inadequate and/or unsuitable situations.
- 40% of Fort Good Hope residents are in core housing need, living in homes that are overcrowded, in need of repair or unaffordable.
- 45% of privately owned homes in Fort Good Hope require major repairs. Many have roofs that are caving in or leaking. Many individuals are living without plumbing and electricity.
- There are numerous systemic barriers to accessing housing and housing related programs that need to be addressed. These include obstacles to securing land title, financing and insurance, as well as obstacles to accessing NWTHC programs. They also include perverse incentives that make it very difficult and expensive to own or rent a market home as opposed to relying on public housing.
- Fort Good Hope’s remoteness makes the cost of securing and maintaining a home very high. Few qualified trades people live in the community or within a reasonable distance.
The significant housing issues in Fort Good Hope are a clear and continuing legacy of Canada’s colonial history. Intergenerational trauma, addictions and domestic violence are inter-related factors that both drive homelessness and are perpetuated by it. Fort Good Hope residents have clearly articulated that housing needs in Fort Good Hope cannot be adequately addressed by focusing on shelter only. KGHS is developing programs that recognize and address not only shelter needs but the factors underlying homelessness; focusing on connecting community, supporting cultural resurgence and facilitating individual agency.