Emergency solutions needed now

Bill Thomas Special to the News Disasters are occurring right now and our thoughts are with the people in Manitoba and Slave Lake, in support and concern. We know their communities will respond courageously and compassionately.

Bill Thomas

Special to the News

Disasters are occurring right now and our thoughts are with the people in Manitoba and Slave Lake, in support and concern.

We know their communities will respond courageously and compassionately. We have to do the same thing here in Whitehorse regarding housing.

Suppose we had an explosion and massive fire that destroyed many homes and buildings throughout the city.

This would be a disaster. We would have to respond, and Whitehorse citizens would not hesitate to assist friends and families dislocated by the horrible fire.

We would look for, and find facilities that could house people.

At Yukon College, we would not debate how suitable those basement units were for Whitehorse residents, but would find a way to make them habitable for an emergency situation.

The largest property owner in South Downtown maintains a vacancy rate at a level well above zero per cent. That owner could find a way to allow empty units to be used immediately.

Elsewhere, properties, unused or empty for whatever reason, could be made quickly available.

Rezoning the area opposite Robert Service campground to allow for camp overflow could happen now … the disaster is now.

Church, school and shelter facilities could be offered.

We would build some kind of accommodation as quickly as possible on empty land sites. Being creative and responsive, we could devise ways and means to do this – modular units, containers, tent cities.

We would not spend time debating whether this is a disaster. We would not debate whether we have the appropriate regulations and bylaws in place.

No, we would commit our time, resources and our brainpower and act in a responsible and humane way.

That was a disaster scenario. Well, we do have a housing disaster situation here and now.

All levels of income earners are affected by it.

Every type of accommodation is needed, be it emergency and transitional housing, rental units, supportive housing and affordable housing.

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition strongly urges all citizens and organizations to participate and engage in finding solutions to this crisis.

The present situation will not do. Let’s demonstrate our determination and start building our strength of will and capacities to champion a just cause.

This column provided by the Yukon Anti-poverty Coalition. Bill Thomas is chair of the coalition’s housing task force and also sits on the community advisory committee of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Strategy spearheaded by Health and Social Services.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read