The Yukon Party government has announced a nine-point commitment to build more housing.
The most notable promise is to build a youth shelter in Whitehorse. This is a significant change in direction: until now, the Yukon Party government has played down the need for such a facility.
Nearly one year ago, Health Minister Glenn Hart did commit to building a homeless shelter of some kind. But he’s been cool to the idea of building one that caters exclusively to youth, until now.
It’s not yet clear whether the shelter would be a new or existing building.
Currently, youth are able to sleep at the Sarah Steele Building. This is a less than ideal location, as the building primarily caters to adults admitted in a detoxification program for substance abusers.
The Youth of Today Society wants to host a youth shelter at its Angel’s Nest building. But the territory snubbed the society’s requests for funding to date, after expressing doubts about the society’s ability to properly run such a facility.
The other commitments are to:
• Build a new seniors complex in Mayo, expected to offer between six to eight units and cost between $2 to $2.5 million.
• Replace McDonald Lodge in Dawson City, with a new facility to be attached to the new hospital. This is an old commitment, which predates plans to build Dawson’s new hospital.
• Build second-stage housing for women fleeing violence, to be run by Kaushee’s Place in Whitehorse, for $4.5 million. It’s unclear whether this amount includes $1 million in work promised in July.
• Expand Options for Independence’s complex for adults with fetal-alcohol spectrum disorder, from six to 24 units for $2 million. This operation has been expanded with the help of federal funds since 2009.
• Continue work on athe Abbeyfield complex in Whitehorse, for $2.57 million. Work on this seniors’ facility has been ongoing since at least 2009.
• Build three duplexes in Takhini to be used as social housing, for $2.2 million.
• Purchase eight double-wide trailers to be used as social housing: four for Carmacks and four for Ross River, for $2.2 million.
• Free up land to build new student residences at Yukon College. Earlier this week, the Liberal Opposition made a similar commitment.
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