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Letter: an open letter to Premier Ranj Pillai and the Yukon Housing Corporation

In light of the recent information that has been brought to my attention as president of the Signpost Seniors Association, I am compelled to respond on behalf of the membership.

In light of the recent information that has been brought to my attention as president of the Signpost Seniors Association, I am compelled to respond on behalf of the membership.

1. Applications for Senior Housing are based on the applicants assets. This decision was made by the Yukon Housing Corporation (YHC) without consultation or any input from seniors organizations, or consultation with our local MLA.

2. One of our members applications was rejected because she had “too many assets to qualify” and YHC had the unmitigated gall to suggest she sell her 30 year old trailer and 20 year old car, rent an apartment and when she was out of money she would qualify for Yukon Housing.

3. By implementing that decision, YHC is “sentencing” senior citizens to spend their final years living in poverty.

4. When the Wye Lake Manor was constructed, it was with the intent of keeping senior citizens in their home community while providing housing that would be compatible with mobility challenges, provide space for socialization, and relieve the burden of the elderly having to shovel roofs and walkways, possibly gather firewood for heat, and maintain aging homes. The “assets” they may have accumulated through years of hard work, were to allow a decent lifestyle in the declining years, possibly travel to visit family, without having to worry about freezing pipes and other associated winter perils. There was never an expectation of “free” housing, the seniors are quite prepared to pay YHC the required 25 per cent of their monthly income.

5. Wye Lake Manor was never intended to become social housing and YHC has been negligent in their management of the building.

6. Since 2017 the residents of Wye Lake Manor have repeatedly brought the garbage disposal process to the attention of YHC with absolutely no action being taken. The refuse bin is too large and the lid is too heavy for the residents to lift. As a result, some residents are storing garbage in their apartments until someone comes along that can dispose of it for them. This creates a health hazard as well as a host of other problems. I have made requests to our local YHC representative to bring the issue forward again and was advised to “settle down”. I have left four messages for YHC and none have been returned to date.

7. It has always been the intention of the Signpost Seniors Association to work with YHC to ensure the seniors housing needs are being met. Prior to the construction of Wye Lake Manor, YHC consulted with the association on several occasions, bringing diagrams of the proposed building, and the debate was if the one story building was to be U-shaped or L-shaped. The building plans, which are still in the association’s possession, bear no resemblance whatsoever to the building we received – so much for “consultation”.

8. It may be relevant to mention the Haines Junction Seniors Residence monthly rent was “capped” by a government Order In Council with no mention of assets. I fail to understand why Haines Junction seniors are being treated any differently than Watson Lake senior citizens, but I recognize that is beyond the scope of YHC.

9. The Watson Lake Signpost Seniors Association is respectfully requesting a productive meeting with YHC in the very near future in order to address these issues and will make our executive

available at a time suitable to YHC. This does not mean we are going away, we view these issues very seriously and wish to see them resolved in a timely manner.

Thank you for your consideration.

Cynthia Kearns

President, Signpost Seniors Association