I’ve been reading the recent articles about housing with a certain curiosity, so I decided to do a little research one afternoon. I looked at all kinds of public information available on the Internet such as news releases, annual reports, speeches, Hansard, and more.
Guess what I found? Almost 350 new units of some form of subsidized housing have been constructed in the Yukon over the last seven years, along with improvements to existing subsidized housing, at a cost to government (taxpayers) of over $163 million.
My numbers might be off by a few thousand. Bottom line, though, is that a really big whack of taxpayer dollars has gone into subsidized housing over the last few years.
Now our mayor of Whitehorse and the folks around the table with him have been doing a lot of squawking about affordable housing. This is the same group that is sending mobile homes the way of the dodo bird. Used to be that mobile homes were pretty much the basics in “affordable housing” and a starter or entry level into market housing for many of us.
On top of that, these same folks are making “regular” housing much less affordable to build with all the new rules, fees, code changes, etc.
Hmm… and they continue to squawk about affordable housing? Go figure!
Here’s a novel idea. I think the remainder of the Northern Housing Trust – about $10 million or so – should be put into a permanent loan fund available to all Yukon homeowners to make improvements – particularly health, safety and energy related improvements – to their homes.
Make the loan low interest and 100 per cent repayable. That way it would be there for all Yukon homeowners, both now and in the future. Improvements to older homes could make them more saleable, becoming the new entry level or affordable homes, since we won’t have mobiles anymore. And energy improvements will reduce heating costs as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions – heck, double bang for the buck.
Oh yeah, and think about the economy here: jobs that could be created as well as purchases of material and supplies related to housing improvements. Forget about double, maybe that’s a triple or quad bang for the buck.
If any of this seems like a good idea to you, please feel free to forward it on to your friends and neighbours, and be sure to let those politicians of any stripe know – municipal and territorial.