Government intransigence kills housing proposal

Government intransigence kills housing proposal Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski, Minister of Health and Social Services Glenn Hart, and Minister of Economic Development Steve Nordick, re withdrawal of proposal and request for the return of all ma

Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski, Minister of Health and Social Services Glenn Hart, and Minister of Economic Development Steve Nordick, re withdrawal of proposal and request for the return of all materials:

As you may be aware, the Northern City Supportive Housing Coalition was formed in April 2010 as a response to the government’s request for submissions from the nonprofit community to develop housing projects through the Affordable Housing Initiative, which is federal funding that was given to the Yukon territorial government. The coalition represents a milestone collaboration between six key nonprofits in Whitehorse. The nonprofits viewed the federal funding as a valuable opportunity to develop a collaborative and community-owned solution to the housing crisis.

Our application to the Yukon Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Initiative to build 20 units of safe and supportive housing for the community’s chronically homeless was submitted on May 14, 2010.

The application package included:

1. A full design and construction team

2. Conceptual drawings

3. An identified site

4. Programming outline

5. Construction schedule

6. Details about mortgage financing

7. Letters of support

From the initial submission, the review process has been incredibly frustrating.

There has been no protocol for review of the application, no transparency, little communication and a disregard for the professional capacity of our team.

Following several requested addendums, the Yukon government asked we complete a business plan, which was paid for by a grant from the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation.

This plan was submitted in November 2010 (Draft I) and again, at a further request, in January 2011 (Draft II).

With the exception of a handful of meetings between then and late March, we have received little to no feedback about the status of the proposal.

At a meeting with representatives from Yukon Housing Corporation and Health and Social Services, held on March 29, 2011, we were told specifically a decision on the future of the proposal would be made by early to mid-June.

It is now the end of August, and more than a year and half into the process, we are still waiting.

Since 2010, our volunteer team has met the requests of the government in a patient, timely and professional manner. Thousands of combined volunteer hours have gone into the development of the submission. We have had an outpouring of support from the community, including a petition with more than 500 signatures which was tabled in the legislature.

We now believe there was never any intent to seriously consider the proposal and, rather than inform us of this in an upfront and honest manner, it was hoped we would just go away.

We have gone above and beyond what would be typically expected for this kind of submission process in any other jurisdiction.

Our submission represented one of the best collaborative solutions to the housing crisis currently on the table.

The continual delays and lack of communication have meant that we have lost the opportunity to buy several properties in the downtown core, and our partners have had to change and evolve. It is unacceptable for a government to administer funding with no intent of doing it according to due process.

As a direct result of the lack of professionalism, transparency, and integrity that has characterized the entire process, we are formally withdrawing our application and suspending any further evaluation of the project.

The board of directors and steering committee maintains copyright to all of the content found within our submitted documents, including the business plans, the original completed application package, and subsequent revisions, and we request that all copies be returned promptly to our organization from the government.

We demand full accountability regarding the Affordable Housing Initiative process and the status of that federal funding.

As a warning to our fellow Yukoners: The bar needs to be raised. We need basic standards of accountability and integrity within the Yukon government.

The administration of this funding process and the continued lack of communication has been unacceptable.

Northern City Supportive Housing Coalition

Whitehorse