The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition has released a 10-year progress report on housing.
Covering the period from 2011 to 2021, the report found that progress has been made but inequalities continue to deepen, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In 2011, we highlighted a housing crisis that was having a huge impact on low-income earners and people needing supports to find and keep their housing,” said YAPC co-chair Charlotte Hrenchuk in a statement. “Today the crisis has deepened to include people across the housing continuum. The negative impact on renters and vulnerable populations is without question the most acute.”
The report notes that “people are losing hope that adequate and affordable housing is possible.”
YAPC released A Home for Everyone in 2011. The report included recommendations to help in Whitehorse’s already stretched housing issues, but did not include targets and timelines.
The updated report released Oct. 6 notes that 33 of the 45 recommendations were addressed over the past decade, including more shelter beds, an increase in supported housing and an increase in government incentives for development.
Overall, they found in a ten-year period approximately 2,192 units were added across the housing continuum. Of those, 13 per cent were beds in long-term care facilities, transitional housing and emergency shelters.
The population of Whitehorse has increased in that time period by 6,512 people; from 23,442 to 29,954.
The Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports that over the past 10 years the average cost in rent (for units of all sizes) has gone from $783 in March 2011 to $1,192 in April 2021.
The rental vacancy rate in April 2021 was 1.7 per cent, up from the 1.3 per cent rate seen in 2010. In Whitehorse, the average price for a single-detached home in 2021 was $590,700, an increase of 16.1 per cent from 2020.
YPAC also conducted a public survey of 354 people in April, with around 200 homeowners, 100 renters and the remainder living in those circumstances. Survey respondents felt that prices had increased but options had gone down.
“For renters, waitlists are long, hotels are full and bedbugs have become common. For people making a modest income, buying a first home is unreachable putting even more pressure on the limited rental market,” said Kristina Craig, Executive Director of YAPC.
The report also notes that 19 per cent of people who responded to YAPC’s survey are using more than 50 per cent of their income on shelter expenses. In Canada, housing is considered “affordable” if it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s before-tax income.
“It’s clear that we no longer need to demonstrate the crisis. The crisis now involves the entire housing spectrum. Unfortunately, Whitehorse is not alone in this experience,” reads the report.
The report applies to Whitehorse only and did not analyze the rural communities.
Contact Haley Ritchie at firstname.lastname@example.org