Making better renters

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition is reaching out to some of the more affluent citizens of Whitehorse. It’s looking to get feedback from landlords to find out what it would take to get them to accept low-income and no-income tenants.

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition is reaching out to some of the more affluent citizens of Whitehorse.

It’s looking to get feedback from landlords to find out what it would take to get them to accept low-income and no-income tenants and whether the tenant wisdom curriculum that it has developed last year will make a difference.

Modeled after Rent Well programs that exist in other cities, the curriculum the coalition developed is aimed at teaching renters how to be better tenants by spelling out their rights and responsibilities and teaching skills like budgeting.

“When you’ve done this course you get a certificate and then you can take your certificate to a potential landlord, which will hopefully help that person get that housing,” said Kristina Craig, a coordinator for the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition.

The curriculum is already being used by Blood Ties Four Directions to run a tenant education program here in Whitehorse. 

In other jurisdictions Rent Well programs do a lot more than just education. Some of them match tenants with landlords and some also provide funds that insure against property damages.

Now the coalition wants to find out what kind of a program is possible for Whitehorse, and how much of a difference such a program will make to local landlords.

“We don’t believe it’s a landlord’s job to do our social programming or provide social housing, but there are lots of low income Yukoners who need good housing, and deserve good housing and we think there are lots of landlords out there who want to provide that,” said Craig.

On Wednesday it’s holding a workshop for landlords and property managers to get their feedback on developing a more comprehensive program.

The coalition also has a survey on its website for those that can’t attend in person.

Already 28 people have responded to the online survey, said Craig.

“What we’re trying to do is get a sense of what the issues are that landlords face and if there is some way that we could develop some kind of program that might help people maintain their housing and make landlords more likely to rent to low-income and no-income folks and hopefully do a bit of education at the same time,” she said.

The workshop will be held on Wednesday at the Bennett Post room in the Westmark restaurant from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The coalition plans on releasing the findings of its survey and the workshop next month.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com

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