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Home lost while owner away

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 14, 2012

A Gjoa Haven resident, who left the community to take a half-year course in Yellowknife, is disputing why his affordable housing unit was declared abandoned in his absence.

Gregory Nahaglulik said he left Gjoa Haven on March 7 to attend a six- to eight-month small business startup course in Yellowknife. He added the course was cancelled because the instructor and other participants never made it in due to weather, and rescheduling fell through. Nahaglulik said he moved to Yellowknife with his family, taking their clothes with them but leaving the furniture behind in the affordable housing unit.

Nahaglulik admits he was asked to write a letter indicating who would take care of his unit in his absence and indicate how long he would be gone.

"I gave them a verbal explanation as to what I would be doing. I was really busy - moving process, trying to take a course, which never happened," he said. "I told them when things settled down in Yellowknife, I was going to write a letter indicating who is going to be keeping my place and whatnot. I was in the process of doing that when I was told we lost our house."

He returned to Gjoa Haven alone on April 21 and lived with the parents of his girlfriend as he found his unit was declared abandoned and the locks had been changed.

An official with the Nunavut Housing Corporation explained Nahaglulik was notified in writing his unit would be declared abandoned.

Around the end of March, the Gjoa Haven local housing organization received a call saying Nahaglulik and his family had left the community, explained via e-mail Patsy Kuksuk, vice-president of operations at the Nunavut Housing Corporation. She added Gjoa Haven's housing organization took steps to keep an eye on the unit to ensure it would not freeze up.

"All their belongings were left in the unit and Greg did not assign anyone to look after it to the LHOs knowledge nor were they informed as such," wrote Kuksuk.

She noted the mobility guidelines for public rental housing units states the housing organization must be notified in writing when the unit will be vacant for longer than 24 hours during the winter months, from Oct. 1 to April 30.

The board of directors of the Gjoa Haven LHO approved a motion on April 2 to change the locks on the unit by April 4 and inform Nahaglulik in writing he was abandoning the unit and to remove his belongings by April 13.

"Greg Nahaglulik came back to Gjoa Haven wanting to get back into the unit he had abandoned a month earlier," wrote Kuksuk. "The LHO staff will not give him the keys as they were changed since he abandoned his unit at the end of March."

Asked what his intentions were, Nahaglulik said he gave no indications of leaving for good.

"Our stuff was still in the house, in the unit, our furniture. All I took was our clothes. We didn't take anything else. I took my family with me," he said. "We were not moving. We were relocating so I could take a course. I wasn't moving."

Nahaglulik also said he never signed a tenancy agreement; he was only asked his salary, he added but Kuksuk disagrees.

"My knowledge is that every tenant must have a Tenancy Agreement in place otherwise they would not be in a public housing unit and subsidy would not be provided," she stated in an e-mail response.

Kuksuk, who described the situation as "delicate," stated the Kitikmeot Housing Corporation district program manager is in Gjoa Haven dealing with this and other issues.

She added Nahaglulik was told he will need to re-apply to go on the waiting list for a public housing unit but as of May 3, the LHO office has yet to receive an application.

- with files from Casey Lessard

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