It’s not clear what’s caused the length of the waiting list to spike. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News)

Wait list for Yukon subsidized housing doubles

Housing minister Frost declines to say how many units will get built this year

The number of people waiting for subsidized housing has more than doubled since this time last year.

The Yukon Housing Corporation says that as of the end of September there were 217 people across the territory on the waiting list for either seniors or social housing. That’s compared to 105 at the end of July last year.

Spokesperson Sarah Murray said there’s no obvious reason for why the number has shot up.

“You could talk about the population of the territory and other factors like that, but we don’t have a direct correlation,” she said Oct. 26.

Of the 217 people currently waiting for housing, 194 are in Whitehorse and 23 are in the communities, she said. Ninety-one are seniors.

In the legislative assembly this week, the official Opposition pushed the government on its plans to improve the situation.

“As we have established, the wait list for seniors housing has doubled under the Liberals’ watch,” Yukon Party MLA Wade Istchenko.

“Can the minister plainly just tell us how many social and seniors housing units will be built in the communities outside of Whitehorse this year?”

Housing minister Pauline Frost didn’t answer the question.

“How many housing units will be built this year? That’s a question that we will have to present at a later date,” she said. “We have resources available now in our budgets that will look for scoping-out opportunities for aging well and aging in place in our communities. We have municipal matching grants that we have added to. We’re working with our partners.”

Currently the Yukon government has 876 subsidized housing units, Murray said.

She could not say how long the average person stays on the waiting list before they get a spot.

Housing is not always offered on a first-come first-serve basis, she said.

The criteria for prioritizing who gets housing first includes whether someone is a victim of violence, has accessibility concerns, is homeless or is a rural tenant needing relocation for medical reasons, Murray said.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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