Yukon Housing Corporation is seen in a file photo. (Yukon News file)

Yukon Housing Corporation is seen in a file photo. (Yukon News file)

Draft Yukon housing action plan released

Final document will come forward in November

A draft action plan focused on housing options in the territory would see a review of Yukon Housing Corporation’s rent assessment and eligibility.

It is one of several actions put forward in the draft action plan released Aug. 22 in response to the recent performance audit on housing in the Yukon by the Office of the Auditor General. The audit found the Yukon Housing Corporation was not meeting the needs of those with the greatest housing needs with adequate and affordable housing. It also found the Department of Health and Social Services failed to support vulnerable Yukoners who were homeless or at risk of homelessness by not providing access to housing that met their needs.

A total of nine recommendations included in the auditor general’s report focused on emergency shelters, transitional housing, supportive housing and social housing. Private rentals and home ownership were not part of the audit.

The draft action plan outlines the government’s response to those recommendations.

“Housing is a fundamental social determinant of health and every Yukoner deserves to have access to a safe and affordable place they can call home,” Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said. “Thank you to our community partners and everyone who is working hard to create more housing options for Yukoners and providing input that has informed this important housing action plan.”

Along with the review of Yukon Housing Corporation’s rent assessment and eligibility, the action plan proposes strengthening relationships with non-profits that provide housing and First Nations governments for a common understanding of the needs of the most vulnerable people, and to coordinate housing stock allocations and services.

A new housing committee made of up different government departments would also be created to share information and expertise.

An evaluation framework would be established on community housing, including performance indicators. A social supports quarterly housing report has already been developed. It is aimed at supporting analysis and decision making on housing needs, and more data-driven decision making would be supported with key performance indicators adopted.

Performance monitoring would also be integrated into funding agreements the territory has with others providing housing.

While a number of initiatives have been listed as already beginning (or in the case of the quarterly housing report, complete) or ongoing, winter 2024 has been set as the completion date for many.

A few actions — such as collaborating with the federal government to deliver housing priorities — are listed as ongoing, set to continue indefinitely. As the proposed plan notes, the draft document will be developed into a work plan by November of this year.

“Even then, the work plan will be an evergreen document and will continue to evolve based on the Yukon government’s response to affordable housing and housing with services,” the draft document states.

“In implementing the action plan elements, the [Yukon Housing] corporation and the department will engage and work with Yukon First Nation governments, Indigenous organizations, municipal governments and private and non-governmental organizations delivering housing and housing with support services.”

Ranj Pillai, the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, commented the finished plan will result in more housing options for Yukoners.

“Meeting the increasing housing demands in the Yukon is not something one government or organization can accomplish alone,” he said. “Through our continued shared work, I look forward to seeing more Yukoners find homes for them and their families.”

A final, detailed plan will be presented to the Office of the Auditor General in November.

— With files from Dana Hatherly

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com