Yukon Housing Corporation office in Carcross. (Yukon News file)

Yukon Housing Corporation office in Carcross. (Yukon News file)

Yukon government accepts housing recommendations

Audit focused on emergency shelters, transitional, supportive and social housing

The Yukon government has accepted the housing recommendations from the standing committee on public accounts, according to a July 7 release.

In the statement, the territorial government said it is committed to creating meaningful change for vulnerable Yukoners and will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to ensure all Yukoners have a place to call home.

“On behalf of the Government of Yukon, the Yukon Housing Corporation (YHC) and the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) have accepted all recommendations from the fifth report of the standing committee on public accounts,” the statement read.

The six recommendations make note of what has been done to address issues highlighted by the auditor general and where more work is needed.

The first recommendation is that the YHC track and assess changes to improve waiting list modelling forecasts and report back to the standing committee with data to determine the effectiveness of any changes. The second recommendation advises YHC and HSS to consult with stakeholders about the possibility of using the by-name list to assess their own waiting lists.

Similarly, the third recommends YHC consult with stakeholder groups about the new tenant allocation policy, as well as any further changes that are planned for the prioritization system and eligibility requirements. The fourth item recommends that YHC review the eligibility thresholds annually.

The fifth recommendation would have YHC consult with the Association of Yukon Communities on plans to complete community needs assessments in the 2023-24 fiscal year, while the final recommendation says YHC should consider ways to better ensure that capital management plans are demonstrably informed by the community needs assessment it conducts.

The statement said the recommendations in the report are closely aligned with the action plan to address the 2022 report from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG), as well as ongoing work to implement recommendations from Putting People First, the government’s road map for a health and social system that better serves the needs of Yukoners.

Implementation of the action plan to address the OAG report began in the summer of 2022.

The public accounts committee discussed the OAG’s report at meetings between May 25, 2022 and June 20 of this year.

In May 2022, the OAG released the report following a performance audit on the state of housing for vulnerable Yukoners, the statement said, explaining the audit focused on emergency shelters, transitional housing, supportive housing and social housing available in the territory between April 1, 2015 and Nov. 30, 2021.

“The state of the private rental market and home ownership in the territory were not included in the audit. The Office of the Auditor General made nine recommendations, all of which were accepted by the Government of Yukon,” the statement read.

In addition, YHC and HSS signed a memorandum of understanding in May 2022 to create a framework for cooperation on affordable housing and housing with services in the Yukon.

Premier Ranj Pillai said the government remains committed to increasing safe, accessible housing opportunities for all Yukoners.

“I would like to thank the standing committee on public accounts for their recommendations, which will help our government continue to improve how we support and house those who need it the most,” he said.

Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said “safe, accessible and affordable housing is an important part of promoting positive health outcomes and facilitating access to essential social services.”

Contact Patrick Egwu at patrick.egwu@yukon-news.com