About eight Yukon families will have a place to live thanks to a $200,000 funding increase to the Yukon Housing Corporation’s (YHC) rent supplement program.
The program currently consists of a $1.4 million rent subsidy that assists more than 100 Yukon families by subsidizing those who are eligible for social housing but can find private market rental housing with landlords willing to participate.
Eva Wieckowski, director of client relations at YHC, said the additional funding will be immediately available. She said YHC has a waitlist it will look to in allocating the funding.
That waitlist currently includes 283 individuals, 239 of which are in Whitehorse (the rest are in the communities). Half the $200,000 increase will go to house people on that list.
Wieckowski said the other half will go to support Yukoners who are currently homeless, as identified in the by-name list complied by the Safe at Home Community Based Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness.
Safe at Home is a partnership between the Yukon government, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Ta’an Kwächän Council, the City of Whitehorse, and the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition.
Sarah Murray, a spokesperson with the YHC, said the decision was made to funnel this funding toward the rent supplement program rather than other YHC programs because it was a fast, efficient way to get people into homes immediately.
“This is immediate,” said Wieckowski. She said it’s a matter of people finding market housing, with landlords who are interested in being part of the program, and being approved by YHC for the program.
In addition to getting residents into houses right away, Wieckowski said the program is also of benefit to landlords, because it guarantees them rent.
Wieckowski also said that even though there are currently many people on the YHC’s waitlist, she would encourage those who might be eligible for the program to apply, as the list is prioritized according to need rather than first-come, first-served.
The additional funding should see selected families through to 2020.
Murray said the Yukon government and the Government of Canada are currently co-developing a new Canada Housing Benefit program, which is expected to launch in 2020.
While she couldn’t provide details on what that would look like, she said it will be a rent supplement program as well.
Its development won’t eliminate the YHC’s current supplement program, but may change the way it’s delivered, Murray said.
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