Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for affordable housing and led to rising levels of homelessness.
Today, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Ahmed Hussen, Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai, Member of Parliament for Yukon Brendan Hanley, and Mayor of Whitehorse Laura Cabott, announced a funding contribution of $5 million under the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) in the Yukon.
This funding is designated for Whitehorse under the Cities Stream of the expanded RHI and will go towards new affordable homes for Yukoners and Yukon families. The funding will be administered by Yukon Housing Corporation and will go toward constructing housing units that support of Yukoners who are in uncertain housing situations, experiencing or at risk of homelessness or living in temporary shelters because of the pandemic.
This new investment will create jobs in the housing and construction sector, grow the middle class and build stronger communities, while moving closer towards the goal of eliminating homelessness in the Yukon.
Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Today's funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable homes for Yukon’s most vulnerable populations, to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for CMHC Ahmed Hussen
Like many jurisdictions across Canada, the Yukon is experiencing a high demand for housing. It is important that our governments have a united approach that aims to support innovative partnerships and solutions that grow housing stock and address the affordability gap. We are happy to partner with the Government of Canada and the City of Whitehorse to support the development of a full housing continuum across the Yukon.
Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai
Without urgent action by the Government of Canada, the pandemic could lead to a dramatic increase in homelessness. Creating housing rapidly to address this housing crisis is a priority for our Government. This new funding is part of our commitment to addressing severe housing needs across the country. It will provide immediate support to create safe and stable housing to thousands of vulnerable individuals and families.
Member of Parliament for Yukon Brendan Hanley
The City is one of the government partners that helped create, and continues to support, the Safe at Home action plan. This plan recognizes that the responsibility and accountability for homelessness is not that of one government, but should be community-led, and supported community-wide by multiple governments and partners. While the City has not historically been mandated or resourced to develop or operate housing, it has from time to time, contributed to the efforts of others in the spirit of shared community responsibility. The Rapid Housing Initiative funding is an opportunity to provide additional external funding to partners who are in a position to provide housing. CMHC’s Rapid Housing Initiative Funding is anticipated to make a significant impact to homelessness in Whitehorse and the City is stepping up with its partners to tackle this significant issue.
Mayor of Whitehorse Laura Cabott
Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), Round 1 was a $1 billion dollar funding program that launched in October 2020 to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing. It is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
An additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), Round 2 was announced through Budget 2021 with $500 million in funding under the Cities Stream.
At least 25 per cent of this new funding will go toward women-focused housing projects. The units will be built within 12 months of when funding is provided to program applicants.
The $5 million funding to the Yukon for RHI, Round 2 is in addition to the Government of Canada’s previous investment of $12.86 million through the first phase of the Rapid Housing Initiative to support the creation of 50 new homes in communities across Yukon.
The RHI will continue to prioritize proposals that target units serving Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. It will also continue to provide flexibilities on timelines to Indigenous governing bodies or organizations as needed.
The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and other vulnerable people under the NHS, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, veterans, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, racialized and Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.