Interested parties, including non-profits and private businesses, have asked for space at the Yukon government’s decision-making table on housing, according to a new work plan.
“There is general agreement that this will support evidence-based decisions among governments and housing delivery agents and support collaborative relationships,” reads the work plan.
The Yukon government released the work plan on Dec. 15.
It comes in response to the auditor general of Canada’s damning May 2022 report that found the Yukon Housing Corporation and the department of Health and Social Services were not meeting the needs of at-risk Yukoners amid longstanding issues in the Yukon housing system.
The report follows up on a 2010 audit on housing and a 2011 audit on health services and programs. The report did not include the state of the private rental market and home ownership in the Yukon.
“The work plan will help support housing solutions and improve how the Yukon Housing Corporation is able to respond to the needs of Yukoners,” Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai said in the release.
“I look forward to the continued collaboration with our housing partners as we implement the actions and help make housing available to Yukoners in need.”
The corporation and the department’s October 2022 housing summit, questionnaires to organizations and meetings with Yukon First Nations were used to dig into the auditor general’s nine recommendations. The result is 36 action items in the work plan.
In the work plan, housing partners who pitched in on the engagement process include banks, consultants, housing developers, Reaching Home Community Advisory Board members, Yukon municipalities, non-government service providers, Yukon First Nations and federal departments including the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Changing the prioritization system and eligibility requirements, doing an in-depth analysis of eligibility and subsequent waitlist to better understand the demand for the corporation’s rent-geared-to-income program and evaluating the community housing framework that takes into account data derived from housing partners are set out as three key policy areas that will be worked on in the work plan.
The work plan notes “rich discussion” on the role of hotels and motels came up at the housing summit. It points to a recommendation about reviewing the use of hotels as temporary accommodation and taking appropriate action to meet client needs. The related action to be taken involves completing a needs analysis for housing with services using population-level and real-time program data.
The Yukon government has started putting into place community housing to replace the “previous outdated service model” of social housing, according to the work plan.
Most of the timelines for completing the actions are ongoing or sometime between spring 2022 and the end of 2024, with the exception of one that has yet to be determined.
According to the work plan, by winter 2023 there will be a timeline for evaluating programs that have not recently been evaluated, such as the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter, which recently changed hands from the Yukon government to Connective and the Council of Yukon First Nations.
“Housing is a social determinant of health, and this plan will guide our efforts to ensure all Yukoners and their families have access to safe and suitable places to call home,” Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee said in the release.
The corporation’s annual report for the year ending March 2022 was tabled in the Yukon Legislative Assembly during the fall sitting. It indicates work is underway, and detailing an action plan in response to the anticipated auditor general’s 2022 report was an objective.
“Alongside our partners at the Department of Health and Social Services, we have begun to take action to respond to the nine recommendations in the report provided by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada,” Mary Cameron, president of the Yukon Housing Corporation, said in the annual report.
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com