‘Oh, I had my own place in Whitehorse
but my old partner found me and
harassed me, so I was kicked out.”
Voices of Homeless Women
“When you start complaining about the houses, they do something to evict you. The house I was staying in was over 25 years old.
“The plumbing was old and the sink kept overflowing. They said they would fix it, but they evicted me and I had nowhere to go with my kids.
“My neighbor had black mould and you could feel the wind blow through the place.
“Her landlady said she wouldn’t raise the rent until it was fixed. Well, she didn’t fix it and raised the rent.
“My neighbor refused to pay the increase so she got evicted. She tried to talk to her landlord, but no dice. She has two teenagers and no place to go either.”
“One lady I know keeps getting evicted. She left her boyfriend but he kept harassing her.
“So she got kicked out because of all the noise he was making. Then the same thing happened with another place she had.
“Her alcoholic boyfriend damaged the place, so she got evicted even though she kicked him out.
“Seems like women always gets blamed for their boyfriend’s bad behaviour. Where’s the fairness in that? Well, I guess I should know by now that life ain’t fair.”
“Another lady I know has a disability so sometimes doesn’t make good decisions. But, still, that’s no reason to kick her out.
“Her boyfriend was arrested while they were living in a trailer so the landlord tried to kick them out. She gave her notice instead, but then had no place to live.
“She moved into a friend’s basement for awhile. She left another place in the winter because they were trying to get her out over a weekend during the winter.
“I couldn’t believe they’d do that, but they did. It seems like homeless women are destined to stay homeless.”
One of the consequences of being marginalized is having few housing options.
The options homeless women do have are often precarious.
They have no power and few resources.
Financially, most homeless women are relying on social assistance.
While housing costs have risen, social assistance rates have not changed in 15 years and do not reflect the cost of rental housing in the Yukon.
Housing costs continue to escalate and there is public resistance to building low-cost apartments in certain neighborhoods.
When low-income women find housing, it is not secure.
Women are afraid to complain about housing conditions or ask for repairs for fear of eviction.
Women living with partners are vulnerable to eviction because of their partner’s violent behaviour or addicted lifestyle.
When women do secure housing, they are still susceptible to circumstances beyond their control.
Excerpted from A Little Kindness Would Go a Long Way: A Study of Women’s Homelessness in the Yukon, a report by the Yukon Status of Women’s Council.