Supportive housing outfit investigated

A plan to expand a supportive housing project for the mentally disabled in Whitehorse may be in jeopardy because of allegations about the group in charge of it.

A plan to expand a supportive housing project for the mentally disabled in Whitehorse may be in jeopardy because of allegations about the group in charge of it.

In September, the government committed $2 million to expand Options for Independence from six units to 24 units. But that work is now on ice as the territory’s Department of Community Services investigates charges against the group.

Government officials won’t speak to the nature of the allegations except to say the group is accused of somehow running afoul of the Societies Act.

But Jan Stick, the NDP’s critic for social services, told the legislature on Monday the group is accused of “unfair eviction notices and unsafe living conditions.”

Options for Independence director Terry Molnar denies these charges. “There are no unsafe living conditions and nobody’s been evicted,” he told the News.

Although he confirmed an investigation is underway, he wouldn’t discuss the nature of the accusations.

“We’re not doing anything improper,” said Molnar, suggesting that sour grapes among competing non-profits may play a part in the investigation.

“There are people who seem to be against us getting this funding,” he said. “But I don’t know what the nature of that opposition is. There are a lot of people looking for funding.”

Confusion also remains over the timing of the complaint. According to Stick, it was made one year ago.

But Social Services Minister Doug Graham said the complaint was made this fall, after the territory committed to the housing expansion.

That money has been frozen for now until cabinet is satisfied with the workings of the non-profit, said Graham.

The project is to be paid for with unspent money from the federal Northern Housing Trust. The territory received $17.5 million between 2008 and 2010. Most of it remains unspent.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com

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