Statement on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada performance audit on the state of housing for vulnerable Yukoners

Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai and Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee have issued the following statement:

“The Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) has released a report following the completion of a performance audit on the state of housing for vulnerable Yukoners. The audit focused on emergency shelters, transitional housing, supportive housing and social housing available in the territory between April 1, 2015, and November 30, 2021. The state of the private rental market and home ownership in the territory were not included in the audit.

“The OAG report offers an overview of the state of housing for vulnerable Yukoners and identifies progress made since 2015 to provide housing to those most in need. It acknowledges the work our government has undertaken with community partners to better understand housing needs in the territory and increase housing options for vulnerable Yukoners. This work includes:

  • the 2017 Housing Needs Review;
  • the adoption of the Safe at Home Community-Based Action Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness in Whitehorse by the Yukon government and community housing partners in 2017;
  • working in partnership with the Safe at Home Society to implement Coordinated Access, a system where people needing housing can identify themselves at multiple access points for when housing units become available;
  • the implementation of a Housing First philosophy to reduce barriers and increase access to housing for the most vulnerable Yukoners;
  • the opening of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Jëje Zho, which provides emergency shelter to men living in and around Dawson City;
  • the establishment of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter, a low-barrier, harm-reduction focused shelter providing services, shelter beds and 20 permanent Housing First units;
  • the Housing First residence in Whitehorse, which provides 16 units of low-barrier, permanent housing with 24/7 on-site services provided by Connective and the Council of Yukon First Nations;
  • the addition of three units at Max’s Place to provide residential care to individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and concurrent substance use;
  • the 2020 opening of an adult supervised residential program operated by John Howard Society, which provides 24/7 community supervised services and supports for justice-involved clients who are on conditional sentences, mandatory supervision and temporary absences and do not require high security custodial care; and
  • the creation of Nts’äw Chua, a youth transitional and supportive housing program in Whitehorse that supports youth as they take steps towards independent living.

“The OAG report includes nine recommendations to better address housing needs in the territory and improve Yukoners’ access to adequate and affordable housing. We thank the OAG for this report and accept all nine recommendations.

“Access to housing, especially for vulnerable persons, is a challenge across the country. We have been working with partners to address the housing needs of Yukoners throughout the territory, but we know we need to do more.

“Through our strong community partnerships, a number of significant housing initiatives are underway in the territory that will directly support vulnerable Yukoners to meet their housing needs, including:

  • the 46-unit Cornerstone Community housing development in collaboration with Opportunities Yukon, which provides supportive housing in Whitehorse;
  • an agreement with the Da Da Daghay Development Corporation to provide 50 units of housing at the River Bend development to Yukoners on the Yukon Housing Corporations social housing waitlist;
  • the new 10-unit Housing First residence under development in Watson Lake, the territory’s second Housing First residence;
  • the Safe at Home Society’s new 55-unit housing project in Whitehorse that will provide supportive housing for women, youth and Indigenous Yukoners at the former High Country Inn;
  • the new 47-unit community housing development at 4th Avenue and Jeckell Street in Whitehorse;
  • Normandy Manor, a new 84-unit supported housing development for seniors in Whitehorse; and
  • the Council of Yukon First Nations' new Indigenous Women’s Shelter in Whitehorse.

“The OAG report provides clear guidance on how to improve coordination and service delivery so that we can better meet the needs of all Yukoners. Work is underway to develop an action plan to address the report’s recommendations. As a first step, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Yukon Housing Corporation and the Department of Health and Social Services that will more clearly define roles and responsibilities, increase collaboration and improve coordination of work. It will also help to ensure we leverage existing information and system data to better meet the housing needs of Yukoners. This will complement our ongoing work to implement the Putting People First recommendations and the Yukon Housing Corporation’s new Community Housing Framework to increase people-centred service delivery. We are committed to working in collaboration with our partners to improve access to safe, adequate and affordable housing.”

Contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
867-334-9194
renee.francoeur@yukon.ca

 

Carleen Kerr
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-667-3673
carleen.kerr@yukon.ca

 

Julie Ménard
Communications , Yukon Housing Corporation
julie.menard@yukon.ca

News release #: 
22-174