Seniors at one government-subsidized apartment complex in Whitehorse say they’ve dealt with people sleeping on floors, stealing furnishings and even coming into their rooms at night.
“You’re sitting there drinking coffee and suddenly some guy you don’t have a clue about walks in the God damn apartment,” said Terry Coventry, a resident at the Front Street seniors’ residence.
Graham MacCannell and seven others who live there listed off various items that had been lifted from the building over the past 2.5 years – tables and chairs mostly, but there was also mention of an “electric television” that made its way around.
“We wanted it changed, so we complained a lot,” MacCannell said.
That they did seems to have paid off.
The Yukon government placed 24-hour security personnel at two subsidized seniors’ buildings on April 1, one of them being where MacCannell and friends call home.
The second building is located on Alexander Street. Both fall under the control of the Yukon Housing Corporation (YHC).
“The security personnel will monitor access to the building and do regular patrols inside and immediately outside the building,” said spokesperson Sarah Murray.
Most residents at the Front Street location said they felt more safe with the government’s actions, but added that more should be done — installing video cameras, for instance, to help further deter people from entering the building.
The issue of bolstered security measures came up in the legislative assembly during question period on April 1, with NDP Leader Liz Hanson asking whether other YHC seniors’ residences will receive the same protection.
There are six social housing complexes for seniors in Whitehorse.
“We are working with the seniors in each one of our units,” said Pauline Frost, minister responsible for the YHC, “ensuring that they have the supports that they require and of course ensuring that we have increased security services where required and enhanced supports — and of course concentration on specific areas, as they’ve advised.”
Murray, the YHC spokesperson, said it isn’t necessary to post security members at other buildings at this time.
“Our tenants’ safety is our primary concern, so if increased security is necessary for our other buildings we will implement it,” she said.
Hanson said some residents don’t feel comfortable making complaints to the YHC.
Frost said a housing navigator will work with seniors, “to provide a neutral, safe place for seniors to voice their concerns without feeling threatened or penalized in any way. That is not what we want. We want to ensure that we have overall wellness and a safe environment for all our seniors in Yukon.”
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