The territory’s minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Pauline Frost speaks to media in Whitehorse on Sept.24, 2020. Frost was one of the dignitaries to announce funding from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which includes a $40 million “northern carve-out” for the Yukon. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

The territory’s minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Pauline Frost speaks to media in Whitehorse on Sept.24, 2020. Frost was one of the dignitaries to announce funding from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which includes a $40 million “northern carve-out” for the Yukon. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Funding could result in 79 new affordable housing units

Yukon Housing will administer $20 million from feds

Funding from the federal government could result in up to 79 affordable housing units being built throughout the territory over the next five years.

The plans were outlined during a March 11 press conference with the federal minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Ahmed Hussen (who attended the announcement virtually), Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and the territory’s minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Pauline Frost.

The funding comes from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), which includes a $40 million “northern carve-out” for the Yukon.

The carve-out is designed to off-set the higher construction costs faced in the north.

A total of $20 million from the $40 million total for the territory will be used to build upwards of 79 units over five years. Yukon Housing will administer the funding with the goal of addressing housing pressures throughout the territory and meeting the needs of individual communities, officials said.

“This funding aligns with the Housing Action Plan for Yukon and allows the Government of Yukon to respond quickly to specific and unique housing pressures we see in the territory,” Frost said. “We will use this funding to address housing needs in our Yukon communities, focusing on our commitments to help Yukoners age in place and find affordable housing that meets their needs.”

Among examples of projects that may benefit from the funding, Frost cited the men’s shelter being planned for Watson Lake and a duplex planned for Dawson.

The design of the building in Watson Lake is planned to be done this year, she noted.

Frost went on to note that efforts would be underway to look at the specific needs in communities and encouraged potential project proponents to reach out to Yukon Housing about their ideas.

“We’re here to collaborate with communities,” she said, highlighting the potential to build between 75 and 79 new units in the territory.

Bagnell also stressed the importance of addressing housing in the territory, noting that in speaking to constituents every day, affordable housing continues to be the biggest concern for many.

He commented the funding being made available to the Yukon Housing Corp. through the national fund will be “transformational” for Yukoners in need of affordable housing.

“By engaging a portfolio approach with Yukon Housing Corporation we are able to cut down on time it takes to deliver housing, which is crucial to tackling the housing crisis,” Bagnell said. “This important funding will help improve housing affordability, deepen our collaborative ties with Yukon Government and help get the local economy moving again.”

The other $20 million outlined for the Yukon in the federal housing co-investment fund is planned to be spent on new construction of mixed-income, mixed-tenure, and mixed-use affordable housing, supporting Indigenous governments, community housing providers and private sector projects, it was highlighted in the announcement.

The national fund totals $13.2 billion for various projects across the country. It’s expected the funding will result in the building of up to 60,000 new affordable units and repairs for up to 240,000 existing units.

“Our government is investing in affordable housing in Yukon and across Canada to help create jobs and improve the quality of life for those who need it most,” Hussen said. “This investment will help improve housing affordability, accessibility, and energy efficiency in Yukon, and soon many individuals and families will have a new place to call home. We are providing a helping hand to vulnerable Canadians, and are ensuring that the economic and social needs of residents across Yukon are met.”

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

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